Now that I've gathered myself, meditated, lit some insense, and listened to 96 hours of Buddhist chants on loop, I think I'm finally ready to move forward with this current Knicks team. Since there isn't much that can be done to improve the roster, basketball-wise, I'd at least improve their likability. This is the most talented Knicks roster in quite some time, but a summer of gay-bashing, drunk-driving and Lin-ditching has left many fans with a feeling of disgust rivaling the glory days of the Anucha Browne-Sanders trial. How can the Knicks turn themselves around, at least from a PR perspective.
Obviously, the best thing the Knicks can do is win. Winning washes away a lot of sins. New York fans loved Latrell Sprewell, and that guy was a maniac. But the regular season is still months away, and there must be something these guys can say and/or do to improve their image for the time being.
As for poor Ray Felton, the pudgy-but-undeserved scapegoat of the Lin debacle, I think he's making the right moves so far. He's made it clear he never wanted to leave New York in the first place, he's admitted he was out of shape last shape last year and sounds ready to prove doubters wrong. He's in an impossible situation, replacing Lin, so he might as well double-down and say to the world that he'll be just as valuable next season as Lin. Obviously he'll have to go out and prove it, but there's nothing he can say at this point that will make the Garden crowd boo him any more than they already plan to. New York fans love hubris...provided you can back it up.
Amare is another Knick who could use an image boost following the infamous fire extinguisher punch and Twitter gay slur. As for the gay thing, I would suggest he not get caught on camera eating a Chik-fil-a sandwich for the time being. As for his image as an actual basektball player, I think Amare should take a proactive stand and volunteer to come off the bench next season. "Amare the sixth man" was a hotly-debated subject at the end of last season, and we don't know where the Knicks' coaching staff stands, but that is besides the point. Amare needs only to volunteer to come off the bench to improve his image as a team player. Would it be an empty gesture? Perhaps, but when you're making $100 mil with no defense and uninsurable knees, every little bit helps.
And as for Melo, the self-appointed expert on "ridiculous" contracts, I would simply give him Derek Jeter's phone number. I've loved Melo since his time at Syracuse. The guy's a top 10 player in the league, a certified 4th quarter assassin, and he's a NY-born kid who idolized Bernard King and begged to be on the Knicks. We should have nothing but love for this guy, but his time in New York has been snakebit since the day Dolan inexplicably traded Gallo, Chandler, Mozgov and roughly 15 draft picks to get him. This guy needs a crash course in the Derek Jeter School of Image management. And lesson one is: shut the hell up. Love Jeter or hate him, everyone knows he would never get himself caught up in a teammate's contract dispute. Melo wants this team to be his team, he wants to be the Captain. Well it's time to start acting like a Captain - keep your mouth shut off the court and let your play do the talking.