The NYK are in a position that they haven't been in for far too long. The value of cap space in today's NBA is undoubtable as well as immeasurable. With so many options, there are naturally so many more ideas being thrown out into suggestion traffic, spawning from overpaid professionals (cough) like Chris Broussard (not even going to look up his name spelling) to 20-something enthusiastic hacks like myself. This post is inspired by the unabashed hopefulness of cool cats like viva-morrison and ny knickerbocker, as well as the disgusting relentlessness of ESPN and other media outlets to drool over Lebron whenever he gets up in the morning (FA summit? LBJ on Larry King? Give me a break). Fortunately, the latter will only last for another 30 days or so, while the hope will live on as long as they are playing ball in NYC.
Anyway, let's go for a walk.I've thought about this a good amount, and I still haven't decided if I'd prefer the Knicks to sign 2 of the 3 best FAs, or focus on building a more complete team. Each has its pros and cons that by now we're all aware of, but as long as the Knicks improve without sacrificing the future, i'm all for it, as we should all be, whatever the plan ultimately settles on.
That being said, here's my personal best case scenario for you: Lebron, Wade, Bosh, Amare, JJ... they all pass on NY. A resounding N-O. If they don't have the stomachs or patience for it, with doubts in the media and the rest of the country praying that they'll fail, fine. If they want to get richer quicker and win now, fine. The door is right where we left it.That kind of personal interest isn't welcome anyhow. Compared to the alternative, it's so much simpler and easier to win rings when players are willing to check egos in exchange for what's best for a team. I hate to say it because I love to hate these teams, but the Lakers and Celtics exemplify this way of thinking. Veterans with loads of talent who check the one on one stuff for the betterment of the players around them. Gasol could be the only star on a team if he wanted to. So could Garnett or Ray. And you know what? Those teams would probably suck. Instead, they are willing to share spotlight because they are wise enough to know that the winning is more important, and more permanent, than the personal glory. No wonder they're both in the finals. Some guys like Melo, Boozer, and even LBJ don't seem to get that yet. Iverson never learned it. Stockton and Malone knew it, but didn't have the supporting talent (another drawback of the 2 star/no team approach). Kobe, Ray, Garnett, Artest, Peyton...they learned before it was too late. Durant and Wade seem like the caliber of players who get the idea and are still young. But that aligning of the stars stuff is a different story.
Back to NY. Instead of trying to woo a collection of unproven stars with huge cash payoffs and glory, the Knicks improve with the young talent that they already have, plus some midlevel acquisitions of players who bring the right combination of unique skills and intangibles like hustle, desire, and unselfishness to the table. Channing Frye, David Lee (if he's again willing to take a somewhat modest check), Rudy Gay, Tyrus Thomas, Amir Johnson, Kyle Lowry, Chronicles of Reddick, Tyson Chandler, or Lord Barron, and some younger dudes like Bledsoe, Varnado, Vasquez, Brackins, Alabi, Willie Warren, or Dominique Jones, etc. Team-oriented guys who know their roles or have the talent and desire to grow into them and do what's best for the team (Basically 15 Toney Dougli). Add a large sample of that motley crew (avoiding too much repetition at position of course) to the real TD, Chandler, Gallo, and Walker, then that is a serious squad. Killers like NY of the 90s, but with some serious talent to back it up too. Would there be a more enticing team with as much potential in the NBA? If you want to take a smaller sample of those caliber players and leave a little more cap space to keep some options open, by all means DW, you go right ahead. Curry's expiring contract at the end of this year plus the first rounder we have in 2011 both signify the opportunity to fill the roles that are left open, whether it's a true center, true PG, or true star to deliver in the clutch (if guys like Gallo, Gay, TD, Chandler or a rook don't look as if they'll develop into it). We all know Melo and CP3 will be out there as options as well, a Brooklyn native son and the best PG in the league, so no need to rush. NY will look like a much more attractive team to FAs next year, that is a guarantee.
Don't know how realistic any of this is, or if it's the direction that the Knicks want to go. It's a star-driven league, yes, but true stars develop out of success. NY doesn't need a franchise player who makes 17 million per year in order to love its basketball. Just compete and do it right. Is Mike D'Antoni, a known star's-coach who runs a notoriously tight rotation the coach for this? Don't know. I think he can be if he accepts the role and is willing to ask for help (reflecting the sort of unselfish attitude his players should also maintain). I also think that all of the players above would relish the opportunity to play here, in Mike's offense, because of how it can transform you into a star if you have the talent to play along. Hasn't happened yet in MD's Knick tenure, but that doesn't mean it never will.The raw talent over the next year or two will probably be the best that he's ever coached.
It's a hell of a goal for 1 or 2 seasons, but we can all dream. Personally, I doubt that things go down as I have described them; you figure at least one star that NY is willing to pay will be willing in return to suit up in the orange and blue. Maybe 2, we'll see. It's tough to turn down that type of talent if it comes along, and maybe the Knicks shouldn't, I honestly don't know. Hack, remember? But one thing I would love as much as, if not more than, having LBJ in NY is knocking his cowardly Chicago ass out of the playoffs on the march toward a Knick championship. And him refusing to shake our hands, of course. Because, not only would he realize that he'd made a mistake, he'd also know that this Knick team wasn't built for him, but for the future instead.