If or when the season actually starts.
I suspect the CBA will get worked out soon and a shortened season happens. Actually a shortened season is perfect for the Knicks to make a move for the title. Players are rested and players like Billups, who traditionally run out of gas, can take advantage of a shorter season.
The general consensus is for the Knicks success this year and the future they need Size, Depth, Talent, Depth, Depth and Depth.
Things need to fall into place, which of course they won’t; but here’s a reasonable and near-realistic scenario which would put the Knicks in position to win the title this year.
The assumption is Mike D’Antoni keeps his job this year as head coach
Robert Sarver’s heart grows three sizes and agrees to take care of Phoenix’s adopted favorite son and amnesty’s Steve Nash.
Nash pockets his $11.6million and agrees to re-join his old coach in NY by signing a one year minimum contract.
Boris Diaw announces that he thinks Space Jam is a simplistic, stupid film that insults his intellect. Team owner Michael Jordan decides to amnesty Diaw and his $9million expiring contract.
Diaw agrees to re-join his old coach and former running mates in NY by signing a one year minimum contract.
Hate him or love him, Boris Diaw excelled in D’Antoni’s system. As a SF/PF pass-first Forward tweener, he would be the ideal 3rd forward compliment to Melo and Amare.
The luxury tax rules in place as part of the signed CBA prevents Mark Cuban from realistically re-signing Tyson Chandler and keep Brendan Haywood. So Cuban decides to re-sign Chandler and amnesty Haywood.
Though enticing deals are coming from Chicago, Miami and NJ, Haywood decides to sign a one year minimum deal with NY and see where things go from there.
Guards – Nash, Billups, Fields, Iman, Douglass
Forwards – Melo, Amare, Diaw, and whoever else
Center – Haywood, Turiaf, and whoever else
In a short season, the Knicks could win the title with this group. They'd have skill, depth, experience and size; though another big would help.
And, next year Nash, Billups, Diaw, Haywood, Turiaf and others fall off the books allowing the Knicks to still pursue their 3rd big 3 (Howard, Williams, Paul, etc.).
Billups and Turiaf could still be available to re-sign. And depending on the fine print, maybe the amnestied players too.
Sadly, Sarver won’t be so nice, Jordan will be petty but will still likely amnesty Diop and Cuban is Cuban so he will figure out a way to keep both… if he wants.
But ya can dream can’t ya?