The new-look Knicks delivered an all too familiar feeling this season as the team once again failed to deliver any results.
Aside from a small moral victory that delivered the franchise's first playoff win in over 10 years, the trio of Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony,and Amare Stoudemire weren't enough to propel the Knicks to anything more than a seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. But former Knicks star John Starks doesn't chalk that up to failure.
"It wasn't a disappointment, it was an up and down year," Starks said. "For them to turn it around mid-season and get to the playoffs is a big accomplishment."
The Knicks will now look to build on those accomplishments as they scramble to keep key free agents Jeremy Lin, Landry Fields and Steve Novak. It's no secret the importance Lin has brought to the Knicks not only on the court, but off as well.
In 35 games last season, Lin averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists—not too bad for an undrafted point guard claimed off of waivers. During that time period Madison Square Garden shares rose 3.9 percent and the stock gained 32 percent.
But if the Knicks hope to keep "Linsanity" in blue and orange they will most likely have to use the mid-level exception to keep him, meaning no more room for upgraded talent at any position.
"Obviously there's going to be some changes. We've got some free agents we have to sign. Guys just have to come back stronger and better this upcoming season," Starks told keepingupwiththeathletes.blogspot.com.
Should an arbitration hearing on June 13 go the Players Association way, Lin, along with Novak, will retain their "Bird Rights," and thus allow the Knicks to keep their mid-level exception, rather than having to use it on Lin.
If the Knicks could keep Lin while maintaining their mid-level, it could open up all types of possibilities at both the point guard and shooting guard spots.
Names like Steve Nash, Raymond Felton, and Jason Kidd have been mentioned to mentor and help a Knicks team desperate in the backcourt. O.J. Mayo is somebody the Knicks could also look at should J.R. Smith decide not to return to the Big Apple for another year.
Whatever happens in New York next season and beyond, Starks may have summed up every Knicks fan's sentiment when he said, "I'm excited for what the future holds for the Knicks."
All quotes were obtained first-hand unless otherwise noted.
Kyle McMorrow is also a Correspondent for Bleacher Report, and a writer and producer for 1010 WINS Radio in New York City. He has also worked for the Big Ten Network and ABC-TV in New York City. Kyle McMorrow has interviewed numerous prominent athletes, such as Larry Fitzgerald, Justin Tuck, Eli Manning and LaDainian Tomlinson. Twitter: @Kyle_McMorrow
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