2016 NBA Off Season Preview: New York Knicks

New York Knicks

2015-2016 Record: 32-50
Projected Maximum Cap Space: $29,321,646

Players under contract for 2016-2017

F Carmelo Anthony ($24,559,380)
C Robin Lopez ($13,219,250)
G Jose Calderon ($7,708,427
F Kristaps Porzingis ($4,317,720)
FC Kyle O'Quinn ($3,918,750)
G Jerian Grant ($1,643,040)
G Tony Wroten ($1,050,961)

Player Options

G Arron Afflalo ($8,000,000)
F Derrick Williams ($4,598,000)

Restricted Free Agents

G Langston Galloway

Unrestricted Free Agents

FC Kevin Seraphin
F Louis Amundson
F Lance Thomas
G Sasha Vujacic
F Cleanthony Early
G Jimmer Fredette


2015-2016 Recap

Another year, another roster overhaul, another sub-.500 finish; New York's 14th losing season in the last 16 years. Derek Fisher was the latest Phil Jackson coaching pupil to flame out in the NBA, lasting less than two years on the job. Speaking of Phil Jackson, the jury is still out as to whether he can bring a winner to New York, but so far, things do not look good.

Players Under Contract

This team begins with Carmelo Anthony. Anthony seems comfortable in New York, even though he has never been further away from an NBA title in his career. He is at home and has control of the organization from an on the court standpoint. Anthony led the Knicks in scoring, rebounding and assists, which says as much about the sad state of affairs in New York as it does Anthony's talent.

The most pleasant surprise of the season was definitely rookie Kristaps Porzingis. "Zinger" was third among rookies in scoring, second in rebound and first in blocked shots, even over Karl-Anthony Towns of Minnesota. Porzingis wore down as the season went on but there is little reason to think he will not be an All Star in his prime, which may come sooner than most NBA fans think.

Robin Lopez may be overpaid, but there is a lot to say about a solid defensive big man who can rebound, and more importantly, play in all 82 games. He is a good compliment to Anthony and Porzingis in the front court.

Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams are solid role players, who might not be worth the salary they are being paid. The Knicks might secretly hope that both players opt out of their contracts during the off season.

Guards Jerian Grant and Tony Wroten could be New York's second string back court of the future. Both are talented play makers who lack the natural point guard skills to play 30 minutes per night.

Jose Calderon and his ridiculous salary remain on the books for one more season.

Free Agents

Langston Galloway has gone from street free agent to solid backup guard, but with the emergence of Grant and the addition of Wroten, there may not be room in the rotation for him.

Other than Lance Thomas, who is a good backup hustle forward type, the unrestricted free agents are all bench fodder. Even as a second round pick, Cleanthony Early was an unmitigated bust.

Free Agent Targets

Priority number one is finding a point guard who can coexist with Carmelo Anthony and the triangle offense. Mike Conley would be a great fit but I do not expect him to leave Memphis. Other than Conley, the free agent point guard pool is extremely shallow, with the likes of Ty Lawson, Brandon Jennings and Rajon Rondo at the top of the heap.

The Knicks will most likely be intent on attracting a marquee free agent. Like every other team in the league, they will place a call to Kevin Durant and LeBron James. Like almost every other team, they will be told "thanks but no thanks". Second tier free agents likely to garner the max are guys like Nicolas Batum, Al Horford, Dwight Howard and Chandler Parsons.

A dark horse candidate is Dwyane Wade. It is no secret that Wade and Anthony are buddies, and Carmelo could do his best to recruit Wade away from Miami.

Trade Proposal

Knicks trade F Derrick Williams and G Jerian Grant to Kings for G Darren Collison and G Seth Curry.

The Knicks do not have much in the way of tradeable assets. Carmelo Anthony will invoke his no trade clause and Kristaps Porzingis should be untouchable, so they might have to try for a mid-tier starting point guard, such as Darren Collison. The Kings might try to resign Rajon Rondo, and Jerian Grant would give them some cheap youth to develop. A bonus for Knicks fans, they finally land a Curry after just missing out on Stephen several years ago.

NBA Draft

The Knicks, in typical Knicks fashion, traded this pick to the Toronto Raptors for Andrea Bargnani several years ago. That trade predictibly backfired on New York. They would have the 7th overall pick, which could have been used on a guard like Buddy Hield or Kris Dunn.

In Summary

As everyone should know by now, the NBA salary cap is set to explode this off-season, meaning more than half the NBA teams will have max free agent money to spend. The Knicks still have the city of New York as a selling point, but with a roster void of talent and head coaching difficulties, it could be hard to attract marquee talent. New York might have to sign several cheap free agents and hope one or two pans out. That is not to mention the head coaching search. Kurt Rambis would be a lazy, uninspired choice, but he seems to be the leader thus far. Probably because he will maintain the triangle offense status quo that Phil Jackson mandates. The playoffs are always a possibility in the East, but to make it further than that, Anthony and Porzingis need help.

Jonathan Carrano

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