Rebuilding isn't a word that is in the vocabulary of the average fan; especially in New York.
Fans pay good money to buy tickets (those who can afford tickets anyway). The fans pay money for all the merchandise, jerseys and caps bought by millions to show support for their team. All they ask is that they be entertained.
Little has been entertaining about the Knicks in the last few years, except seeing how badly they would play that night. It was a classic case of the inmates running the asylum. Coaches have come and gone. Even the architect of the disaster known as the Knicks survived many more years than he should have.
No matter what happens in the next two years, there is not likely to be much entertaining in Madison Square Garden by way of the Knicks. While the group the Knicks have was certainly neither young nor hungry, they were at least playing close to .500 basketball. More hope than the last few years have brought fans.
Two separate trades on Friday stripped the Knicks of their top two scorer's. Is this a bad thing? Well, no. I am sure there is a long-term plan that won't leave fans like me very entertained; much as the last few years have.
However, banking on any of the top free agents wanting to come to New York is however, silly. Why would LeBron James come to New York to toil with another group of underachievers? Dwayne Wade? Chris Bosh? Amare Stoudemire? Come on, be serious here people.
Put a different way, if you were one of the top players in basketball, able to sign for major money in any of (as I write this today) 15 places for max money, would the fact it is New York make it more or less appealing?
I know what my answer would be.
No way do I want to go there.
Think about New York as a market. What would your answer be?
So instead of over reacting about the cap space the Knicks should have that year, ask yourself if any one player in the NBA can carry a team for 82 games plus at least 15 in the playoffs by themselves. What would contribute more: one max player or a series of carefully chosen players all built for a system on the floor?
If I am overlooking someone, please feel free to let me know. No pipe dreams about assembling a dream team. While the free agency period for 2010 is something like 590 days away it is important to remain grounded in our expectations. There is more important groundwork that can be laid. Like making sure whoever is on the roster would be appealing to a potential signer.
Hence, 2010 is more a question of the following. How bad can Donnie Walsh make the Knicks for the next two years? Having two top-five draft players plus a decent cash surplus on hand would make luring one of those maximum free agents to New York a lot easier.
Forget all the Olympic talk of LeBron, Bosh, and Wade all saying they wanted to play together in the NBA. I am sure none of them will be influenced by where the other goes. If they truly wanted to do that, they would sign minimum deals. Do you see that happening?
Didn't think so either.
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