LeBron James Decision: What's Next For The New York Knicks
Perhaps this won’t sink in until Miami blows out New York by 40 points next season in Madison Square Garden.
Knicks fans will crawl back into the corner and count down the days until Carmelo Anthony and Tony Parker are free agents.
And may higher beings have mercy on Knicks brass if they strikeout once again.
The Knicks have already agreed to a sign and trade with Golden State sending David Lee out west.
So now that New York has traded Lee and missed out on the most coveted available player in any sport since Babe Ruth, what’s next for the Knickerbockers?
Here are five things on New York’s to-do list.
Replace Donnie Walsh
Walsh is getting old, and isn’t aging well.
He recently had neck surgery that landed him in a wheelchair, and he apparently needs a new hip, too.
While he still has one year and $5 million left on his contract, sources are saying he might retire within a week.
While he did wonders for New York over the last two seasons, dumping cap like a wizard and keeping the Knicks in the LeBronathon, it’s time for him to go.
It helps that former Portland Trailblazers general manager Kevin Pritchard is available for hire.
Pritchard just rebuilt a Blazers franchise from the ground up, and was fired because he brought in a slew of young talent that has made the Blazers relevant again.
Still not sure why he was fired… but hey, something was bound to go the Knicks' way eventually.
Trade Ronny Turiaf
Nothing against Turiaf as a player or a person, but he has to be traded before the February deadline.
I’ve had the good fortune to meeting Turiaf, and he’s a great guy, and could be a solid minutes eater for Mike D’Antoni next season, but it’s imperative the Knicks get him off the books after this season.
Turiaf has not really amounted to much in his young NBA career, averaging 5.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.
The Knicks have to walk away from this offseason with one mentality: we just got the best practice we could for bringing Carmelo Anthony to New York in 2011.
And in order to land Melo and one other star, the Knicks will need all the cap space they can find, including avoiding Turiaf’s player option.
Sign another big man
Amar’e Stoudemire was a great start for the Knicks, who reunited the Phoenix Suns big man with his old coach.
But it can’t end there.
The Bulls are revamped, having added Carlos Boozer to a team that led the NBA in rebounding last season.
The Magic have Dwight Howard, the Celtics have Glen Davis and Kendrick Perkins, and Chris Bosh will surely be paired with someone in Miami.
So who is the answer to the Knicks’ front court question?
New York needs a guy who can play in D’Antoni’s system, doesn’t mind the attention of New York, and who won’t break the bank.
So how about Shaquille O’Neal?
How could Shaq not love playing in New York? He’s familiar with the Knicks system, having played for D’Antoni and he would reinforce the front court.
Brad Miller could be another option for New York because of his versatility in playing down low and being able to shoot.
Sign a point guard
And preferably, someone a step up from Stephon Marbury.
I’m thinking Raymond Felton, with Luke Ridnour as a backup option.
Toney Douglas showed some promise at the end of last season, and it would be a bad move to give up on him as quickly as the Knicks gave up on Trevor Ariza.
Douglas could be a good backup to either Felton or Ridnour, and could probably learn a lot from watching and playing with either one.
Douglas isn’t quite there yet on the defensive end of the ball. With other pieces in place, his offense could shine on a consistent basis.
But for now, New York needs a point guard, and Felton has showed a lot of promise, and would play well under D’Antoni and alongside Stoudemire.
Move on from LeBron
The last two-plus seasons in New York have been entirely focused on LeBron James, and that’s no secret.
Knicks fans were more interested in whether or not they’d see Jared Jeffries, Jamal Crawford, and Eddy Curry traded than they were in wins.
The Knicks organization is in complete disarray, but with some slight improvements and the ability to move on from the must-get-LeBron era, New York might be able to improve.
They are a relatively young team, with pieces like Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and Bill Walker in place.
They just added Stoudemire, who is in his prime.
And they’re primed to grab Carmelo Anthony and one other free agent next year.
So for now, while sure New York missed out on LeBron, they can finally move past this, and focus, once again, on basketball.