New Yorkers Get Ready: The Knicks Are Back

Randy JacksonContributor IJuly 12, 2010

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 20:  Danilo Gallinari #8 of the New York Knicks reacts against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Madison Square Garden on February 20, 2010 in New York, New York. 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 Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

The summer of 2010 was supposed to result in a complete rejuvenation of the New York Knicks.

After more than two years of sacrificing wins for salary cap space, the Knicks' luck was supposed to turn around with the acquisition of LeBron James and another gem from the All-Star cast of free agents.

Not so fast, Knicks fans.

James spurned the Knicks for the hated Miami Heat and Pat Riley, breaking the hearts of Knicks fans everywhere.

But although the summer of 2010 did not result in a title-contending team, or the acquisition of LeBron, pride has been restored to a franchise that only three years ago was considered the laughingstock of the NBA.

It is a new era indeed for the New York Knicks.

Although New Yorkers can't rejoice in the fact that the Knicks acquired LeBron, they can be happy that Amar'e Stoudemire is now a Knick—a far cry from the days when Othella Harrington and Eddy Curry were the best low-post options in New York.

Stoudemire, a five time All-Star, provides the Knicks with their most dominant player since Patrick Ewing and will be a force in Mike D'Antoni's run and gun offense.

While Stoudemire won't be paired with MVP Steve Nash like he was in Phoenix, the newly acquired Raymond Felton provides Stoudemire with a sturdy point guard to run the pick-and-roll with.

Felton started 80 games for the Bobcats last season, and has career averages of 13.3 points a game along with 6.4 assists.

The Knicks also recently acquired Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azubuike, and Ronny Turiaf from the Golden State Warriors in a sign-and-trade for David Lee.

The steal in the Lee deal is the 21 year-old Randolph, a lengthy, athletic forward with a ton of upside. He is expected to compete for a starting job and the Knicks hope he can make up a formidable frontcourt with Stoudemire for years to come.

Knicks president Donnie Walsh said, "This trade gives us an outstanding young frontcourt talent in Anthony, and along with Kelenna and Ronny, we feel they will all be key contributors to our team."

The Knicks expect third year sharpshooter Danilo Gallinari and fourth year swingman Wilson Chandler to benefit from the acquisitions of Felton and Stoudemire. Both are considered rising stars, along with second-year man Toney Douglas.

Perhaps more importantly, however, is that by clearing up salary cap space and spending their money wisely this off-season, the Knicks have put themselves in position to chase free-agent Carmelo Anthony in 2011 and either Chris Paul or Deron Williams in 2012.

Although it may be wishful thinking on the part of Knicks fans, Paul and Anthony have both mentioned their desire to play alongside Stoudemire in New York. 

Those three would immediately turn the Knicks into one of the NBA's best teams and provide the Knicks with a "Big Three" that would rival the newly formed trio in Miami.

Just a week ago, Amar'e Stoudemire proclaimed, "The Knicks are back!"

It would be hard to argue with him.

They may not be title contenders just yet, but the Knicks are in position to compete for an NBA title for years to come.