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How the Knicks' players helped bring this new core together

Players recruiting players recruiting players.

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

The Jackson 5 is complete:

Courtney Lee isn't the best player on this crew -- in the best-case scenario, he'd actually be the worst -- but he is one of the few starting-level shooting guards in a ridiculously thin market. That meant the Knicks faced a great deal of competition from other clubs.

Fortunately, New York had an ace in the hole in the form of their newly-acquired center, Joakim NoahPer Ian Begley:

The Courtney Lee deal "would not have happened without Joakim Noah," a source close to Lee says. Lee had several offers to decide from and chose New York in part because of Noah's recruitment. "Courtney understands what playing for the New York Knicks means," a source close to Lee says. "He wanted to play in New York and Joakim Noah was instrumental in recruiting him. Would not have happened without Joakim. Courtney couldn't be more excited."

Noah hadn't even been with the team 24 hours before he started recruiting. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise, though: Noah himself was likely being recruited by Derrick Rose even before Rose's introductory press conference. Hell, even young Kristaps Porzingis tried to get in on the Noah recruiting (and free dinner!), only to be thwarted by Mother Nature:

And for those of you screaming, "What about Melo?", fear not -- the longest-tenured Knick has been working with management all this time:

Phil Jackson says Carmelo Anthony has been helping the Knicks' front office in their efforts to acquire players in free agency: "I think Carmelo's been very active, he's been very aggressive, he's checked in, given us information," Jackson said. "He's been very much a partner in what we're trying to do."

Welcome to the new New York Knicks, where everybody is a recruiter! Those guys may have their most challenging work ahead of them, however. With Noah and Lee, the team also had the luxury of throwing around lots of cash. That will no longer be the case, as the team is coming up against the salary cap. Even if they can retain Lance Thomas and Langston Galloway, the Knicks will need a couple of solid bench players to sign on for very little money.

Can Melo, Noah, Rose and Porzingis convince good role players to join the new-look Knicks? That could prove the difference between an MSG revival and yet another disappointing season.