Why the New York Knicks' 2012 Offseason Has Been a Success

Ciaran GowanContributor IIIJuly 21, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 24:  Amare Stoudemire #1 of the New York Knicks and teammate Raymond Felton #2 react to a call during their game against the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena on November 24, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

With their foundational pieces in place in the form of Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, the New York Knicks' 2012 offseason has been all about building a solid supporting cast.

Taking a look at their roster right now, it's safe to say they've been successful.

The big, headline-grabbing story has been the fact that the Knicks allowed point guard Jeremy Lin to sign with the Houston Rockets, a decision that's been unpopular amongst Knicks fans.

But though it's disappointing to see such a talented player leave after all he did last season, the Knicks have still gotten better on the whole.

In place of Lin, the Knicks completed a sign-and-trade for Raymond Felton and a very cap-friendly contract, giving up nothing of much importance to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Though he's not as exciting a player as Lin, Felton is a great fit for this team, as his chemistry with Amar'e Stoudemire could be influential in both players having comeback years in 2012-13.

People will criticize Felton for his poor 2011-12 season, in which his weight in particular caused him trouble, but Felton is obviously motivated by both playing in New York and the prospect of silencing his critics next year.

As we saw back in his first stint with the Knicks, a motivated Felton can cause some real problems in the NBA.

Along with Felton the Knicks have focused primarily on upgrading their bench, doing so at three different positions.

At point guard, Jason Kidd is unquestionably better than any of the Knicks' backups last year—Mike Bibby, Baron Davis and Toney Douglas—and his veteran leadership will be invaluable to the bench unit.

The center spot has also received an upgrade in the form of Marcus Camby, who is still to this day one of the NBA's best rebounders and shot-blockers.

Josh Harrellson had the potential to be a solid player, but he's got nothing on Camby.

The addition of Kurt Thomas as the backup power forward in place of Jared Jeffries gives the Knicks another defensive player who, unlike Jeffries, can actually handle himself on the offensive floor.

Jeffries is arguably the better defender, but Thomas is the more well-rounded player.

Finally, the Knicks have added depth from Europe, with James White, Chris Copeland and Pablo Prigioni rounding out New York's new additions.

None of them will feature too heavily in the rotation early on, but each is capable of playing minutes when injuries roll around.

As far as re-signing their own players, the Knicks have brought back three-point specialist Steve Novak and sixth man J.R. Smith, both of whom were huge parts of New York's bench last season.

Both are on very reasonable salaries, too, so that's some good work there from Glen Grunwald.

Fans appear to be upset about the Knicks signing too many aging players—what with over 50 percent of their new signings being over 35—but it's not as though the Knicks are asking for much from their older players.

Kidd, Camby and Prigioni in particular will be playing in much smaller roles than they were for their respective teams last season, and besides, it's not as if they've struggled to play big minutes recently.

One thing that's really gone unnoticed about the Knicks' activity this offseason has been the contract lengths of the players signed.

Though the Knicks will be over the luxury tax level for the foreseeable future, Grunwald has made sure that if all fails in their quest for a championship, he'll have almost everyone off the books following the 2014-15 season.

The Knicks are a team that likes to build through free agency rather than the draft, and a sudden clearance of cap space is a great way for them to kick-start a rebuilding process.

Ultimately, this offseason was all about adding the finishing touches to what already was a talented roster, and despite their limited resources, the Knicks have done that.

The bench has been upgraded, and the Knicks are now at least two deep at every position.

The Knicks still need another shooting guard, with Iman Shumpert preparing to be out until January, but rumors of Ronnie Brewer possibly coming to town are good to hear.

Going into their first full training camp with Mike Woodson as head coach, this Knicks roster is prepared for something big.