The New York Knicks and Orlando Magic tipoff tonight at 7 p.m. EST, and if history has any say in the matter, the Knicks will trounce the 16-40 Magic for a ninth consecutive victory. The Knicks simply have their number.
The Knicks will build a hefty lead tonight while draining buckets from all over the court, and will have a lot of fun in doing so. The smiles will be plentiful on the Knicks’ bench. And on the Magic bench, the opposite will happen. Heads will hang as the team approaches their 41st loss of the year.
But the Knicks, who are just 21-33 themselves, would be foolish to think they’re in a better position than the Magic. Why? The Magic have a lot of young talent locked into cheap deals, a lot of draft potential and a lot of money to spend this offseason. The 2014-15 Magic will likely dominate the Knicks.
The Magic will have Arron Afflalo, Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, Tobias Harris and Andrew Nicholson all on the books next year. They also have a few small team options they may or may not pick up. In all, those six players will make just north of $20 million combined next season. The salary cap is expected to be at or near $60 million.
Which means they could conceivably bring in two All-Star level players, or a few key role players. On top of that, they are among the favorites to win the NBA Draft Lottery, which means they will likely be bringing into the fold one of the following: Kansas center Joel Embiid, Kansas guard/forward Andrew Wiggins, Duke forward Jabari Parker, Kentucky forward Julius Randle or Australian point guard Dante Exum.
The Knicks have no money and they have no draft picks, currently, in 2014. They will likely have the same roster next season as they do this season. So the Knicks need to enjoy tonight’s victory over the Magic, because it may be the last for a while.