The 2014 New York Knicks‘ offseason has pretty much died out. Now all we can do is take a look back and evaluate the moves made by new team president, Hall-Of-Famer coach Phil Jackson.
Carmelo Anthony re-signed with the franchise for a near max contract, keeping the hope alive that the superstar will be able to bring a championship ring to the city. Anthony stated in interviews that he was leaning towards leaving the team, but eventually chose to believe in Jackson and his project for the franchise. Considering the amount of time the team would need to be competitive without its cornerstone, I’d say this was a pretty successful outcome. He even signed for less than the max contract, giving the team a little more wiggle room for next year’s free agency bonanza.
Chemistry killers Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton were traded to the Dallas Mavericks. Felton had a terrible year last season and Chandler clearly did not want to stay in New York anymore, so that alone is a win-win for the Knicks. But the fact that Jackson got in return a point guard to build around in Jose Calderon, someone who can fit perfectly in the triangle system (implemented by the new head coach Derek Fisher, who was Jackson’s first major move) and be part of the contending team for years to come is that much better. Oh, he also got two draft picks on the deal, which ended up becoming Cleanthony Early (signed last week), Thanasis Antetoukounmpo and a french player who will stay in Europe. It was nice seeing the Knicks at the draft board again.
Old acquaintances Shannon Brown and Lamar Odom were waived by the Knicks, showing a cultural change in New York. No more familiar faces over competence. Jackson instead went after a one-year deal with Jason Smith, to bring more depth at the big man positions. Cole Aldrich re-signing with the team also proves this point. The new president focused on roster management and long term contention, over short term profits and excitement.
Jackson wanted to show skeptical journalists that he would be successful in the front office, and after this offseason he has the material to prove it. He acted on behalf of a group and has already made improvements to this group. Long term financial flexibility and coherence is what is going to make the team competitive once again, and so far Jackson has been pitch perfect in making that happen – this isn’t going to be the case 100 percent of the time, but it’s a great start. Orange and Blue fans can only hope this will eventually bring an NBA title back to New York.