On Sunday, Seth detailed some positive words on Phil Jackson and the Knicks from P&T's favorite
stalking victim draft prospect, Karl-Anthony Towns. It was yet another reminder of the potential dream union between a kid with franchise-player upside and his hometown team.
We all know, however, that the cruel realities of the draft lottery make it unlikely that Towns will end up in New York, even if that's what he really wants. But let us turn for a moment to a different dilemma: veteran players who actually could choose the Knicks, but have been in the league long enough to know better.
Welcome to the pre-free agency speculation jamboree! It's a magical time when every free agent gets connected with the Knicks, even the ones fans have completely given up on:
Btw I recently asked B. Udrih (ex-Knick) to weigh M. Gasol to NY: "They're not going to get him. He's a laid-back guy & doesn't like drama."— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) May 3, 2015
Beno, how could you! This Marc Gasol stuff is more funny than depressing by now. Most fans have moved on to more reasonable free agent options, like Spurs wing Danny Green. The Long Island native put on a defensive clinic on Saturday night in perhaps the most breathtaking Game 7 you will ever see: 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists, no turnovers, two steals and five blocks, including this incredible rejection of Blake Griffin:
Watching Green guard four positions, a poor Knicks fan couldn't help but dream. Why not for us?
Oh Come on! You've only been a Spur for five years; you've been a non-Spur a much greater proportion of your life!
While the idea of going into free agency with a boatload of cap space is fun in theory, the reality is that, for non-Pat Riley teams, this whole process can be incredibly cruel. Good players tend to play for good teams, and those good teams tend to keep those good players.
For all the talk of Phil Jackson's failures in his first year as team president, the next three months will be far more important than the previous 13. He's going to have to convince players like Danny Green or DeMarre Carroll to leave winning franchises for a rebuilding team. It's far from an impossible task -- plenty of players desire big paychecks, bigger roles and more limelight, which the Knicks can definitely offer -- but the old "every player wants to play for the Knicks" fallacy died long ago.
Can Phil Jackson sell his vision to veterans coming from successful teams? I mean, that's one of the main reasons he's here. One of the reasons those rumors of potential Greg Monroe max contract offer were so disturbing -- beyond the defensive issues and the awkward fit with Carmelo Anthony -- is that the move would be so unimaginative, so "old Knicks." Hell, Dolan and Steve Mills could have wooed a limited player from a losing team to MSG for max money. It's what they do best!
Here's hoping Phil Jackson can successfully attract some players like Danny Green. Personally, I'd start with, "If you can't beat Alexey Shved, join him." Or perhaps you could point out that a Carmelo Anthony-led Knicks team won 54 games in the East as recently as two years ago. Surround Melo and a (hopefully) elite high draft pick with a few quality starters, and the Knicks could immediately vault themselves into the playoff race in the lame-ass East. It certainly beats playing the Clippers in the first round!