Monday, May 14, 2012
Should New York Knicks Keep Offseason Priorities Simple?
Following the New York Knicks' first-round playoff exit (having suffered at the hands of the Miami Heat), questions still remain as to whether Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire can co-exist on the hardwood.
Furthermore, is it for certain that there's enough talent currently on the team to take them to the next level? Having struggled without a point guard for much of the season, some are suggesting the Knicks move on from "Linsanity," and hope the appeal of playing in the Big Apple is enough to lure a star guard like Steve Nash in for less money.
And regardless of what kind of talent is in New York, the team still needs a coach to lead them. Did Mike Woodson do enough to warrant a return to the bench, or will Knicks' brass target a historically proven coach like Phil Jackson to bring a championship back to where it all started for him?
There are endless possibilities for the Knicks, but as they look to build upon existent success, might it be best that they just keep their offseason priorities rather simple?
Having already committed to the likes of Anthony, Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler (salary-cap wise), the Knicks are left with limited resources to make improvements (or even simply maintain the team).
If New York shoots for the stars (quite literally) and targets a player like Steve Nash, not only is it possible he may draw out the process as he makes his decision, but it's also a possibility that he rejects any potential offer.
Should Jeremy Lin choose to sign elsewhere quickly (while the Knicks wait on a player like Nash), they might in fact have to opt not to match a deal for Lin to free up money for the alternative option, or simply run out of time to match. If the alternative option happens to reject the Knicks' offer as well, the team will have sacrificed Lin and be forced to move on to the "plan B's and C's" of the free agent world.
A similar situation may unfold with the coaching situation too. If the Knicks opt to target a big name coach, who's to say another team won't jump at the chance to hire Woodson, given his success. If Woodon doesn't want to play the waiting game, he could easily find a nice, comfortable offer elsewhere.
The Knicks have made their bad (for better of worse) with the core already intact on the roster. Thus, they have already shown the confidence in the potential of this group. The natural next step is to simply add to the core, continuing to surround them with pieces that will enhance their play. As members of the team continue to preach that time is needed for them to figure things out on the court, there's no more opportunity for any significant shakeups.
With their Midlevel Exception, New York should look to lock up Lin long term. Not only is he a marketing phenomenon, but the second-year guard proved to elevate many of his teammates. What's more, despite his rise in the public eye, Lin's ego has stayed in check. This should prove that he will be open to playing for any coach, and be able and willing to adjust to any system.
Nash thrived in Mike D'Antoni's offense, which Carmelo Anthony seemed to loathe. With questions already surrounding the compatibility of STAT and Melo, who wants to raise new questions by adding Nash to that mix? Lin's willingness (and the fact that he's still developing as a player) will allow him the opportunity to try to fit in with anyone.
The Knicks hold RFA rights on Lin, and no other team can exceed an offer from New York, so the home team seems to hold all the power here. If they want him back, Lin can and will return.
With regard to their Bi-Annual Exception, the Knicks should pray to their lucky stars that Steve Novak displays loyalty and gratitude, opting to return. Not only did the forward lead the entire NBA in three-point shooting, but he helped give his team that much needed spark off the bench. He does so many things for the team offensively, and tries hard on defense too. He should be a no-brainer to return. Despite his stellar breakout season, Novak's quiet playoffs may have lowered his market value enough for the Knicks to bring him back.
With not much money to go around as it is, the Knicks will likely lose J.R. Smith, whose hot and cold play lifted the Knicks just as many times as it sunk them. He shot erratically, but had the ability to excite Garden fans like not many others could. He proved to be the ultimate "X-Factor," which the team can only hope to replace through another bargain players.
When it comes to possibly retaining the likes of Jared Jeffries and Mike Bibby, the team will once again have to get crafty. The Knicks found key contributors in many of their veteran minimum signings this past season, and will have to do it again this summer. Jeffries, among the league's leaders in charges, was a big part of the team's elevated effort on defense. It's unclear whether or not he will receive higher bids in the open market from a worthy enough team. Time will tell.
To tie everything together, though, the Knicks should reward Mike Woodson, not simply for his impressive record, but for changing the culture in New York. Woodson was/is a big part of the team's changed defensive mentality, which has clearly resulted in winning ways. The players have bought into the coach, and now the franchise should follow suit. Let Woodson continue to prove himself and finish what he started.
Of course, nothing ever goes exactly to plan, so no matter what/who the Knicks' priorities might be, it's sure to be an interesting offseason. We'll have you covered here on Knicks Journal with all the twists and turns.