With the NBA Trade Deadline quickly approaching, the New York Knicks find themselves in a spot they have not been accustomed to in quite a while.
The Knickerbockers entered the All-Star Break, despite on a 6-game losing streak, 3.5 games out of the 8th and final playoff spot in the East.
There has been no denying the revival which the Walsh-D'Antoni Era had ushered in, but to what degree has the revival reached? That is to say, have the Knicks simply moved out of the cellar, or are they ready to roll with the big boys this season.
Long-Term plans in the Garden are easy to see- free up enough cap room to sign not only LeBron James away from Cleveland, but another superstar of All-Star Caliber to the blue and orange, and revive the tradition that Knicks basketball once possessed.
The list of stud free agents in the "Summer of LeBron," besides the King himself, looks as appetizing as a Manhattan Rib Eye. Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Bosh, just to name a few, head the list of superstars the Knicks will be pursuing.
But what if the Garden is ready for basketball deep into May right now? Can they make any moves which will not drastically alter their long term plans, yet give them the boost to bring playoff basketball back to New York? That is the question which remains to be seen.
Although we are very close to the deadline, the Knicks have pieces which are very attractive to other teams, including Stephon Marbury's expiring contract. If Amare Stoudemire wants out of Phoenix as badly as it seems, an Amare and Leandro Barbosa for David Lee, Wilson Chandler and Stephon Marbury trade seems to work for both sides.
The Suns receive instant cap space with Marbury's expiring contract, as well as two potential All-Star caliber players in Lee and Chandler. Not to mention, the price tags on Lee and Chandler are steals compared to what other players of their talent are being payed.
For the Knicks, the idea of Amare lighting up MSG is exactly what the D'Antoni regime wants to bring to New York. Bringing him into the picture and pairing him up with Al Harrington in the frontcourt could be exactly what the Knicks need.
Leandro Barbosa brings a three-point threat which will spread out the offense even more. A lineup of Duhon, Barbosa, Richardson, Harrington and Stoudemire has the offensive potential of any other team in the league. And Mike D'Anotoni—who coached Amare in Phoenix for his entire career prior to this year- is just the coach for the job.
For now, however, it appears as if the Knicks will stay put. They have the talent to win enough games to make it to the playoffs. The question is the discipline on the defensive side of the court.
They have lost a slew of games this season by only a few points. A couple extra stops on the defensive side on the court—which really would not be asking a lot—could work wonders.
If they can find a way to win those close games with the talent they have, the Knicks could rattle some cages in the playoffs with the right matchup.