The New York Knicks finished the 2016-17 season with a 31-51 record which had them finish 12th in the Eastern Conference. New York was poised as a heavy favorite in the Eastern Conference in 2016-2017 due to the big name acquisitions that they made. The Knicks traded away Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon, and Jerian Grant for Justin Holiday, Derrick Rose, and a second-round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. They signed Joakim Noah (four years $72 million), Courtney Lee (four years $50 million), and Brandon Jennings (1 year $5 million).
They looked like good moves at the time, but after one season it clearly did not work and the Knicks look like they could be potentially "blowing it up". Jennings was waived by the Knicks, and Joakim Noah got suspended for 20 games for violating the NBA's Anti-Drug Policy, and is required to have surgery for a torn rotator cuff which requires four to six months of rehabilitation. The Knicks have to be focusing on making their star talent happy, but all they have been doing so far is just spending money on guys that don't work out for them.
With this upcoming offseason the Knicks need to decide in what direction that they want to go in for not only next season, but for the next five seasons, and so on and so forth. They have to focus on the future, because it does not look too bright right now. Do the Knicks need a full fire sale, or do they need to change some things around in their front office? With that being said here are 8 things the Knicks should do this offseason and 7 that they shouldn't.
15 Should - Abandon The Triangle Offense
It's baffling that someone in an executive role would outright demand that the team play a certain way, even though they're not working with the team every day and running practice. Phil Jackson's triangle offense used to work, but it's a different league now than it used to be and Jackson needs to realize that. Either Jackson himself has to acknowledge that the offense won't work anymore or James Nolan has to outright tell Jackson not to be so insistent on one style of play. The Knicks haven't gone anywhere in Jackson's tenure, even though he's had plenty of time to find players who could play his system. What does that tell you? Which leads us to our next point...
14 Shouldn't - Fire Jeff Hornacek
Jeff Hornacek did what he could do a season ago, when he led the Knicks to a 31-51 record. With that talent that they had on the roster they should have not only been a playoff team, but a potential contender. Nothing went right for New York last season, as guys were hurt, suspended, and did not live up to their full potential as a unit.
Their should be a pass for this season for Hornacek due to the fact that he did not have anything go his way, but if they can acquire the talent that is needed for them to become a playoff team and they don't make the playoffs is when you start to consider putting Hornacek on the hot seat. With that being said they should get Hornacek a team that strives around his style of coaching, and let him run the offense that he likes to run which is up-tempo, rather than the triangle offense that Phil Jackson wants to run.
13 Should - Trade Joakim Noah
Joakim Noah signed a 4 year $72 million deal with the Knicks in the off season and he definitely has already shown that he is no where close to being worth that kind of money. Noah averaged 5.0 PPG, and 8.7 RPG in the 46 games that he played in the 2016-2017 season. The Knicks still owe Noah ($17.7 million in 2018, $18.5 million in 2019, and $19.2 million in 2020) which they can easily take off with a trade.
Even getting young players and draft picks for Joakim Noah is already an upgrade for the Knicks due to the more cap space that they will have in the future to be able to acquire talent. Noah should be the first player that should be moved, and not a lot of teams will want to take on his cap hit, but he has to be the first player out the door for the Knicks to be able to have a positive future for years to come.
12 Shouldn't - Overpay Role Players
There are plenty of quality free agents available in this year's free agency class, but the goal for the New York Knicks should be not to overpay for their bench players. For example they have Lance Thomas who is nothing more than a role player for them and he is going to be making $6.6 million next season, which is detrimental to a team's salary cap especially when he only played in 46 games a season ago.
The Knicks need some of their draft picks to come in and work their way into roles that will help them strive to become a better team in 2017-2018, but they should not be paying role players more than $5 million per season, if they want to be a successful team in 2017-2018. New York should focus on making a bench that will strive in their coach's system and getting talent that can come off the bench and help keep the Knicks relevant for the upcoming season.
11 Should - Take A Chance On Greg Monroe
The Milwaukee Bucks and Greg Monroe have not worked out the way that both teams thought when they agreed to a deal in the 2015 off season. Monroe got the max for a three year contract with a player option in his third year, and it is hard to see why Monroe would not opt out and see his value in free agency. Enter the New York Knicks to this equation, especially if they trade Joakim Noah for either draft picks, or just a trade to get rid of his salary.
The Knicks should take a chance on Greg Monroe due to the fact that he has had great seasons in the NBA in Detroit, and played good in his time in Milwaukee. Monroe will not start on the Bucks in the 2017-18 season and that will be a big reason why I can see him opting out of his player option to test free agency. Look for Monroe to look at the Knicks as a potential team in which he could play for in 2017-18 as he could be apart of one of the best front court duos in the NBA if he had the opportunity to team with Kristaps Porzingis.
10 Shouldn't - Sign Zaza Pachulia
The Knicks could get Zaza for a little bit less than $3 million for a year, but there is no way that they should look into getting him anywhere near their organization. Pachulia has been labeled as a dirty player due to his past with certain players, and the most recent incident he was involved in came in game one of the Western Conference Finals. Zaza made not one, but two attempts at a close out at Kawhi Leonard and proceeded to stick his right foot out underneath where Kawhi would land and let Leonard roll his ankle for the second time this post season.
Pachulia gives an 110 percent effort everytime he is on the floor, but some of the things that he does on the court is very questionable. For a franchise that is trying to remake who they are, Zaza is definitely not the guy that you want to bring in to help with that scenario.
9 Should - Draft A 2-Guard And/Or A Small Forward
The Knicks have two second round picks in this year's NBA Draft (44th and 58th overall), and they should be looking at a 2-guard (also known as a shooting guard) and a small forward with those two second round selections. The two names that they should look into is Sindarius Thornwell out of South Carolina, and Dillon Brooks out of the University of Oregon. Thornwell is a 6 foot 5 shooting guard that can score in bunches, and could be a big time help off the bench for the Knicks. Sindarius has some qualities that leads towards a good leader off the bench, and gives an 110 percent effort at all times when he is on the court.
Dillon Brooks is a 6 foot 6 small forward that can provide good defense, and a good reliable scoring option off the bench for the Knicks. Brooks can help bring the Knicks bench relevant again and can play good quality minutes that will help rest the starters so that they can come out and perform better down the stretch of close games. For both of these guys if they get hot shooting from the field, then that Knicks bench can become a legit threat for years to come.
8 Shouldn't - Try To Sign Blake Griffin Or Chris Paul
Potentially two of the biggest name free agents in 2017 are Blake Griffin and Chris Paul due to the fact that they both have a player option for the 2017-18 season. Both of them will more than likely opt out, but does that mean the Knicks should try and go all in for potentially one of them? If Blake Griffin is to leave the Clippers, he will more than likely either go to the Oklahoma City Thunder, or the Boston Celtics. If Chris Paul leaves the Clippers, he will most likely stay in the Western Conference.
With that being said why would the Knicks even consider signing one of the two, well they have been part of the top twenty five players in the NBA over the past five seasons and will look to continue to do the same. Plus the Knicks have Porzingis under contract so it would make no sense to sign Griffin, but with Paul being 32 years old it is hard to be able to commit a long term deal to him.
7 Should - Sign Jrue Holiday
Jrue Holiday is a former all-star (2013), and is the type of point guard that the New York Knicks need to help bring the team back to the playoffs. Holiday in his eight year career averages 14.3 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 6.2 APG, and he is only 26 years old. If the Knicks could lock up Holiday they would have him for the prime of his career, and could get the best usage out of Holiday which was not used properly in his time in New Orleans.
If the Knicks could get Jrue Holiday this offseason, look for them to be able to succeed not only in the Eastern Conference, but in the NBA as a whole next season. The New York Knicks would definitely see an improvement from point guard as Holiday is a traditional point guard, and can actually run an offense the way that it should properly be ran. Look for the Knicks to make Holiday their big offseason acquisition that they need for next season.
6 Shouldn't - Keep Derrick Rose
The Knicks traded for Derrick Rose in last year's off-season and needless to say it was not a good fit for either side. Rose played in 64 games, where he averaged 18.0 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 4.4 APG. Those numbers are pretty solid for Rose who has been injury prone since 2011-2012, but unfortunately those numbers did not help the Knicks in the win column.
Also during the season he went completely AWOL and missed a game against the New Orleans Pelicans in mid January. This was a sign that the two sides have trouble communicating and that it was not going to work long-term. The New York Knicks should let Rose walk, and not look back because it will put the franchise in a better spot for the future years to come.
5 Should - Sign Talented Small Forward
There are some very talented small forwards in this year's free agent class, and the Knicks should look into signing one of them. Some of the names on the list is Gordon Hayward, Danilo Gallinari, Rudy Gay, Andre Iguodala, Bojan Bogdanovic, etc. if the Knicks could sign any of these names they will be on the up and up for the 2017-2018 season.
We can figure that Hayward will either stay in Utah, or go to Boston and Andre Iguodala will most likely stay with the Warriors. Which means that the other guys are all fair games, and I believe the best fit for the Knicks would be Rudy Gay. I think Rudy Gay and the New York Knicks could have some mutual interest, and a deal could be in place. Look for the Knicks to find some talent at small forward in this off-season.
4 Shouldn't - Keep Phil Jackson
Since Phil Jackson became the president of the New York Knicks things have not looked good in New York City. The only thing that Phil Jackson has done right in his time as President of the Knicks is draft Kristaps Porzingis. The Knicks have been abysmal in the Phil Jackson Era as they are on their second head coach, and Phil insists that the Knicks run the triangle offense when they have players that do not thrive in playing in that offensive system.
The triangle offense worked when he was the head coach of the Lakers because he had the roster for it, while the Knicks do not have that type of roster. Also with disputes between Jackson and Carmelo Anthony it should be time for the Knicks to find a new president.
3 Should - Draft A Point Guard In The First Round
The New York Knicks have the eighth overall pick, and they should be looking at one of the talented point guards in this year's draft class. It looks like the Knicks will be between the 6th and 10th pick in this year's NBA Draft. With that being said guys like Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball will be gone, but there are still some high quality prospects at point guard that could be big time for the Knicks in 2017-18.
Some of the names are De'Aaron Fox, Dennis Smith Jr., and Frank Ntilikina that would potentially be available in that time of the NBA Draft. The Knicks should absolutely draft De'Aaron Fox out of Kentucky if he is on the board when they are on the clock. Fox is 6'3 and is a very athletic player at the point guard position. He will definitely need to put on some size as he only weighs 170 pounds at the moment, but he still is a can't miss prospect for the Knicks Organization. The way the Knicks should approach the NBA Draft is Fox is "the guy" to draft, Smith Jr. "the next option" and Ntilikina is the "settle for" option for them.
2 Shouldn't - Trade Kristaps Porzingis
The New York Knicks should not even be considering the fact of the possibility of trading Porzingis. He is the future of this franchise, and if the Knicks trade him there will be nobody in the city of New York that will like/accept that move from the Knicks front office. Porzingis is "the guy" for the next 10 plus years, the Knicks have to do their best in putting talent around him.
That is why I think that they should sign guys like Jrue Holiday, Rudy Gay, Greg Monroe, etc... because that is the type of talent that he needs to want to stay in New York City. He skipped his exit interview with the front office, which makes us believe that he wants to be in New York, but he wants them to go out and get some talent so that they can compete the way that the Knicks fans want to see them compete. Trading Porzingis would be a terrible move for the Knicks and the fan base would never be the same.
1 Should - Trade Carmelo Anthony
It is safe to say that Carmelo Anthony's time in New York looks to be coming to a close. Anthony has had his fair share of going back and forth with the front office, especially with Phil Jackson. The big dispute between Carmelo Anthony and Phil Jackson makes it look like the Knicks need to move on from both of them and get a fresh new start.
Anthony's trade value has been decreasing due to the problems between Jackson and himself, but you can still get some high quality assets for Anthony. Look for the Knicks to finally pull the trigger and find a trade partner that is actually interested in Carmelo and could give the Knicks the best package, look for Carmelo to potentially head back into the Western Conference to prove he still has what it takes to compete at a high level.
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