Since Phil Jackson was named team president in March, the Knicks have made a lot of changes and they have been aggressive during the offseason. They found a way to get two second-round draft picks on the day before the draft, removed some of the players who hurt last year’s team and brought their best player back in Carmelo Anthony. On top of that, they added Derek Fisher as their head coach. The future looks bright in the Big Apple.
While many moves have been made, there are still a lot to be made. With the potential Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers trade looming and a devastating injury to Paul George, the landscape of the Eastern Conference will continue to change. The Knicks can’t sleep on the other teams, but what will their next move be?
Jackson has made some intriguing moves already in his short term with the Knicks. By bringing in a guy like Fisher, fans got what they expected — someone who will institute the triangle offense and other schemes that Jackson has mastered. With that being the direction they are going, passing will be something that the Knicks will look for. The Knicks ranked 28th in assists per game last season. By adding José Calderón and Shane Larkin, the Knicks added depth, experience and youth to the floor general position. These guys will set the passing tone, but others will need to do so as well, including the big men.
The Knicks are a guard heavy team, while their frontcourt is somewhat scarce. The next move for the Knicks could be to dangle some of that young talent at the guard position, maybe a Tim Hardaway Jr. or Iman Shumpert, and make a move to trade them. With unproven rookies like Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo, the Knicks lack trade assets. If they want to make a trade, one of either Hardaway or Shumpert will need to be involved. Each brings their advantages, and for the right price they might choose to move them.
Two players currently on the Knicks roster who may also be considered pieces to be move are Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani. Both players have big contracts that are expiring at the end of this season, which would be exciting for other teams looking to get rid of cap space. Again, Shumpert or Hardaway would most likely have to be a part of this deal because the play of Stoudemire and Bargnani was not impressive this past season, so what the Knicks would receive in return would be minimal. Also, with most of the top free agents signed this summer, moving those contracts now would not have too much of an effect until next offseason anyway.
Right now, the Knicks will have to play a waiting game. I think that as training camp and the season start, the Knicks will continue to be very active, looking at pieces to move in and out of the Big Apple. It will be interesting to see what pieces they are and what they will get in return. Cap space is the key, and they do have a lot of that coming next summer, so no move they make will change that factor unless they somehow can trade for a superstar caliber player. That, however, is unlikely based on their few trade assets. The Knicks will be actively looking for ways to improve their roster, but I think they will be relatively quiet for the next couple of weeks and months. The roster they have now might be what they are working with for most of the season.