While the New York Knicks have obviously improved finishing two games above .500 with a 42-40 record and making the playoffs for the first time in a decade, they still have a ways to go before they can be considered ready to contend for the chance to win an NBA Championship.
With two stars in place, not a tremendous amount of cap space and the 2012 free agent class being the one that everyone is waiting for, these are the moves I believe they would have to make in order to be able to contend for an NBA Title right now.
Their most obvious needs are adding depth at point guard and getting a solid seven footer to patrol the paint and take the defensive pressure off of Amar'e Stoudemire, so he can compete to his fullest and contribute heavily on the offensive end. Getting a true center the Knicks would then be able to move Stoudemire over to his natural position at power forward where he feels he is more comfortable and can be the most effective on both ends of the floor.
Realize that the upcoming slides are the moves that I believe they should make to become contenders this season as they will almost certainly be making improvements again with the heralded free agent class of 2012 right around the corner. They are realistic in that they fit the teams needs, coincide with the structure of the current salary cap and may include a player or two the Knicks should go after, but may not.
Each move is made with the intention of improving the team in the short term, as well as trying to plan for the future by giving them the flexibility to make some moves in the 2012 offseason, where they will likely be going after Chris Paul, Deron Williams and maybe even Dwight Howard.