Today's an SB Nation NBA theme day. We're all discussing where our teams will be in a year. Carmelo Anthony thinks the Knicks won't be winding up their post-championship summer next August, which is clearly bullshit, but we can humor him for this conversation.
12 months from now, the Knicks will probably be at the end of a retoolin' summer. Much of the team will have been lost to free agency, though perhaps some of it returned. The giant contracts of Amar'e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani will have expired. I can't imagine Bargnani returning, but perhaps Amar'e could come back on a very small deal. If J.R. Smith is still on the team, he'll have a player option to return. If Iman Shumpert is still on the team, he'll become a restricted free agent. It'll be up to the Knicks to extend re-up offers to Tim Hardaway Jr., Shane Larkin, and/or Quincy Acy, and they'll have the option to guarantee Pablo Prigioni's next year.
Whatever remains from the above will be open space, probably a lot of it. This is, of course, assuming the Knicks don't make a big move to take on some big money in the next year which is, of course, not always a safe assumption.
But if the Knicks do have a big hole, I expect they'll first seek a big piece with which to fill it. Marc Gasol's name has already been tossed around by nerds and even insinuated by actual Knicks like Jose Calderon. If Gasol decides to leave Memphis-- inherently a slim possibility, but you never know-- he'll be a pricey free agent, probably the type to absorb almost all of the Knicks' future cap space. I fret sometimes over the savior complex-- get THIS GUY and things will be great-- that can drive the Knicks to commit to the biggest name available, but at least Gasol would fit. Unlike adding, say, a scoring swing forward, adding an exceedingly savvy, polished big man with passing skills and defensive sensibilities would make perfect sense.
As you move down the list, it gets a little sketchier. Would Rajon Rondo be worth a major commitment at the exclusion of others? LaMarcus Aldridge (who seems unlikely to leave Portland anyway)? What about guys who might not earn the full max? DeAndre Jordan? Paul Millsap? What if Al Jefferson chooses to become a free agent? Or Goran Dragic? Or Brook Lopez? Or Roy Hibbert? Or Thaddeus Young? Or Raymond Felton? What about restricted guys like Kenneth Faried, Kemba Walker, and Reggie Jackson? I definitely forgot some people.
Maybe they'll just max out Thanasis.
The Knicks look lined up to pay one guy at or near his max salary, and for a great fit, I'd be fine with that. If I must make a prediction, though, I'd bet on them missing out on Gasol and Aldridge (and Kevin Love, of course). I bet a year from today the Knicks will have finished up a 1996-esque summer of filling the team out with medium-sized contracts. Perhaps they'll have overpaid a big man. Perhaps they'll have just drafted an immediate contributor. Maybe they'll leave some space open for next summer.
Perhaps-- almost certainly, rather-- an aspect of the team I take as given at this moment will have changed. Perhaps, again, the Knicks will have already made a big financial commitment. Perhaps Melo will be gone somehow. Perhaps the coaching staff or front office will have changed. You can't rule anything out. Perhaps the rising tides will have already consumed New York and Madison Square Garden will be a floating sports and entertainment barge beset by futuristic robo-corsairs. Players will have to take shifts defending the Madison Square Barge against piracy between games. Food will be scarce. Anyone who bought tickets to the game during which the water finally arrived will be trapped in the building, which on one hand would lead to savage, unhygienic bedlam, but would also equal amount to free season tickets. We will discover that Derek Fisher is, as suspected, fully amphibious and able to breathe underwater. Fisher will win coach of the year for leading the Knicks to a new life in the mid-Atlantic Ocean, taking everyone at the Garden with them. I will be part of the colony. Our currency will be turtle bones.
How about you? Where do you see the Knicks in a year? Where would you *like* the Knicks to be in a year?