As the world economy takes a turn for the worse, so do the plans of Donnie Walsh. In April 2008, a confident Walsh took over as the Knicks President. He had elaborate plans to, much like the offers of many of those annoying credit card debt commercials, completely eliminate the debt of the Knicks, which goes to the tune of over $39 million; the Knicks are over the Salary Cap.
However, in doing so, he also has completely eliminated any competitive basketball in New York for the 08-09 season and the 09-10 season. If Walsh doesn't spend a significant amount of money this offseason, he should do what he has planned to do since he came to the Knicks: put the Knicks under the salary cap.
But putting the Knicks under the cap is just the first part of his plan, hence the word "elaborate." With all of this money to spend, he plans to take advantage of the overload of superstar free agents that will be available in the 2009-2010 offseason, free agents that include LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, and Tracy McGrady.
Up until a few days ago, it seemed as if this plan was going to work out, or, at least people thought that the Knicks had enough money to spend for a LeBron or Bosh. For months, people were criticizing Walsh's preconceived notion that the Knicks were going to sign LeBron James.
But just a few days ago, the NBA sent a memo to all 30 NBA teams that sent chills through Donnie Walsh's spine. The NBA announced a $1 million decrease in the NBA Salary Cap for the 2009-2010 season. Though a $1 million decrease should not have any major effects for the Knicks, the NBA also talked about a much further decrease in the 2009-2010 salary cap.
In a best case scenario, the NBA said the cap would lower to about $53.6 million, and in a worst case scenario, the cap would lower to about $50.4 million. If the cap does lower to $50 million, it would put the Knicks plans on hold.
There is no guarantee that this will happen. Of course, things could go the Knicks' way, and they will gather up enough money to sign a Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, LeBron James or possibly more than one of the aforementioned players.
It isn't fun to talk about, but what would the Knicks do if they, even with their cap cleared, can't end up affording any player that would make a significant difference on their team? What if, instead of signing LeBron James, the Knicks sign Joe Johnson, a respectable guard, but not quite LeBron? Johnson would average 15-20 points per game, but he wouldn't have the same game changing impact that LeBron would have.
Donnie Walsh will make the best decisions for the situation, and the Knicks will probably be competitive in 2010-2011, even if they don't get LeBron, Carmelo, Wade, Bosh, or McGrady. Even if the Knicks don't get one of the top free agents, Walsh will probably attempt to go after less highly acclaimed players, such as the aforementioned Joe Johnson, T.J. Ford, or maybe take a chance at Steve Nash on a one or two-year deal.
Remember, this is just a scenario. There is no guarantee that the Knicks will get a LeBron or a Bosh, so, Knicks fans, I'm just preparing you for the worst.