The New York Knicks' Step-by-Step Guide to the Offseason
It’s clear to all who watch the sport: The New York Knicks have to take steps this summer towards greater success next spring.
What remains a tad unclear is this: What types of steps should these Knicks take?
Should the Knicks take giant steps as John Coltrane did, toying with the fabric of their franchise and rewriting the rules of championship construction? Or should the Knicks take every little step with care, quietly locking eyes with prospective candidates as Bobby Brown did with his mistresses?
Should the Knicks perform revisionist plans to a rhythmic step by step, like the fantastic Suzanne Somers sitcom or the hit track from those New Kids on the Block? Or should the Knicks’ steps be more measured and calculated, reflecting the instructions of Will Smith to a nervous Kevin James in the movie Hitch?
As with all teams, New York must clarify their summer strategy sooner than later. Free agency is fast approaching and those draft prospects ain’t getting any younger. Today, let’s chart a course for the orange and blue collective, help them make sharp decisions and avoid risky business.
Stats in this piece are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.
STEP 1: Fix Carmelo Anthony
So, I guess he wasn’t faking it. Can someone tell Kevin Garnett to stop hunting opponent body parts for sport? Thanks.
Here’s the recovery plan: The Knicks and their medical crew will monitor Carmelo’s shoulder over the next few weeks, hopeful that it’ll recover with some old-fashioned rest and rehabilitation. Otherwise, surgery’s the move—a decision that will sideline Anthony for three to five months and put his return to the game in time for next season in question.
So Knicks fans, before you start slotting in new names and taking numbers, send up a prayer for your dude. He may be playing more Xbox this summer than you think.
STEP 2: Re-Sign J.R. Smith
Before you yammer again and write verbal checks that your agent can’t cash, take a breather and a tip from the regal diva Whitney Houston. Free agency is still a “bridge you have to cross” and “a road that you have to follow” to build a strong hope and future for you and your family.
Eat now, revenge later.
I’ve highlighted this here previously, but it’s worth repeating: The Knicks better pay this man his money. They can always use J.R. Smith as a tradable asset! (Foreshadowing much?)
STEP 3: Trade for Chris Paul
Action’s heating up on the Left Coast, and this time it’s not due to Eddie Murphy’s Malibu gallivanting in another Beverly Hills Cop. Or Chuck Sheen doing Chuck Sheen things.
Nope. This time, it’s all about the Los Angeles Clippers. Chris Paul, Olympic gold medalist and top-flight NBA point guard, is unhappy. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan just want to catch alley-oops and make car commercials, which is an affront to CP3’s dreams (or delusions?) of postseason grandeur.
Chris Paul is skeptical about the future of the Clippers, with good reason. Heck, Elton Brand bolted for cold Philadelphia to get away from that Southern California mess once upon a time. CP3’s window of doubt is opened just wide enough for the Knicks to sneak in and separate the basketball guru from his real estate twin.
(After all, he did toast to this inevitable fusion with Carmelo and Amar'e back in 2010.)
The Knicks can only grasp this guy with a sign-and-trade, and here’s my stab at it:
Chris Paul + Caron Butler = Raymond Felton + J.R. Smith + Iman Shumpert + 2015 first round pick (top-3 protected).
Or, does Chris Paul for Carmelo Anthony work? (Ducks)
STEP 4: Heal Amar'e's Broken Heart
As Bruce Springsteen once lamented, everybody’s got a hungry heart.
Amar’e Stoudemire is one such man, but currently sports a heart more broken than his knee caps. This was as evident as ever by his less-than-subtle locker room jabs following the Knicks' Game 6 defeat in Indianapolis.
Even though he’s a spry young 30 by everyday standards, Amar’e has transitioned into the latter stages of his sublime career. Amar’e will never live up to his max contract from the Summer of Lebron, but he can provide a scoring punch from the pine when available.
The Knicks need a man of class and charisma, and Amar’e Stoudemire can be that dude.
First things first. Before the Knicks' ace medical team dare scope Amar’e’s knees this summer, they should first take time to heal an even more important body part: his heart.
STEP 5: Make Iman MORE Iman
2013 Regular Season: 6.8 points per game, 3.0 rebounds per game, 11.7 PER, 1.9 win shares.
2013 Playoffs: 9.3 points per game, 6.0 rebounds per game, 14.3 PER, 1.0 win shares.
Wait, what? The guy almost matched his win share total from an entire (45-game) season over 12 games! How can the Knicks get more of the playoff Iman?
Give him the rock, and trust him to be all that he can.
Iman Shumpert is one of the most explosive players in the NBA. He can rise and throw down with the best of them, lock down premier perimeter scorers and strike fear into scouting reports.
In order to get to the next level, Iman needs another summer in his hometown Chicago to get his mind right and his game tight. Look at Paul George: He used last summer to improve in all facets, winning the NBA’s Most Improved Player in 2013 and giving Lebron James and company all they can handle in South Beach.
As a maturing star, Iman must find the balance of passion and conscious, of id against superego.
He’ll get it done, no question.