This year's offseason is arguably the most important offseason in Knicks history. With lots of cap space, a high draft pick, and a GM and coach ready to prove themselves, they are in a position to make lots of moves that could set themselves up for lots of success in the years to come. In what's going an offseason that could bring lots of joy among a fanbase starving for success, lets go over why this summer is big for the franchise .
The first factor, is that the Knicks have a ton of cap space which can set them up to land big time free agents. At the start of this season, they had enough to resign power forward Kristaps Porzingis and a marquee free agent. But it was unlikely that Porzingis wouldn't get the max deal due to his injury and upset with the direction the team was heading in, he demanded a trade and got his wish by being sent to the Dallas Mavericks. The Knicks also unloaded guards Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee who were given big contracts. This now gives the Knicks the access to sign 2 max free agents. Those players could be Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, or Kemba Walker. Free agents such as Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, Demarcus Cousins, Tobias Harris, or Kris Middleton are available. They are also in a good position to get these players. Kemba grew up in the Bronx, Kyrie grew up in Orange County NJ, Kawhi's uncle who's apparently been his top adviser loves New York, and lots of rumors have pointed out that Durant wants to go to New York. New York's best shot is Durant even though he may sit out all of next season with a torn achilles tendon. Irving still has a chance of going to New York even though recent rumors of him going to the Nets. It may not happen but the dream of signing both players, is still in sight.
This is also the first season that coach David Fizdale and general manager Scott Perry can prove themselves as strong recruiters. For Perry, he was hired in the 2017 offseason. He was a part of the front office that drafted Durant. His role in building what is becoming to be a young and talented Sacramento Kings team. With the Knicks, Perry's first draft class was a strong one with scoring forward Kevin Knox, a pogo stick center in Mitchell Robinson, and a fearless point guard in Allonzo Trier who was undrafted. He now has the chance to get forward R.J. Barrett who can't wait to play in New York. When David Fizdale became the Knicks coach, lots of the top NBA players such as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade praised him having played for him as an assistant back in Miami. His ties to stars are viewed as valuable and for the Knicks, that's a big positive.
Lastly, for what has become a fanbase waiting for success, this is finally the chance for the majority of these Knicks fans to look forward to a season. Last season marked the 14th time in 18 seasons that the Knicks were not in the playoffs. In some of those years they haven't had a draft pick. Others years saw them show their disappointment on either lottery night or draft night. But now that they have a high draft pick and the good chance to sign to not one, but two max free agents, there's a reason for the older generation to finally relive the glory days of the 1970s and 1990s, and for the younger generation to finally see lots of long term winning.
My personal belief, is that they'll be able to sign Durant, while Irving and Leonard will still remain possibilities. I'm not high on Kemba even though I would be happy with them signing him. It's going to be a very intriguing offseason.
It has been a rough season for Carmelo Anthony. Despite accepting a role on the bench with the Houston Rockets, his tenure in the lone star state was still one to forget. On offense, his playstyle of midrange shots wasn't a good fit for Houston. On defense, opponents attacked him on pick and rolls which is a common strategy that teams use against unskilled defenders like Anthony. In November, the Rockets released him. Despite almost signing with the Lakers, he went the rest of the season without a NBA team. A shame for one of the best players of his generation.
So why am I saying that Carmelo Anthony is one of the best players of his generation? Because Anthony was truly an awesome player to watch. Let's start with his abilities.
For his entire career, Anthony's game hasn't been flashy. His moves are very basic. He would attack the rim with a simple drive to the basket off a dribble hesitation, a rip and go move, pump fake, or spin move in the post. His jump shot comes from a pull up off the dribble, a hesitation from three, pump fake, turnaround, or in transition. But his deadliest move, is the jab step. To explain it, let's go through through a simulation of 3 possessions.
On the first possession, Carmelo gives you a jab step. It has you thinking about whether he'll shoot it or drive. He then drives to the basket with ease and scores.
On the second possession, Carmelo gives you a jab step. You immediately think that he's going to drive to the basket and you move with him towards the basket. The only problem, is that he's still in the same spot with the ball and you can only watch him make another basket.
On the third possession, Carmelo gives one jab step. You're not hesitant at all. He gives you another jab step. You back up. A third jab step now makes you think that he's going to shoot. Then with a simple pump fake, you go flying by and then it's just a matter of whether he scores on a jump shot or at the basket.
So there you go. At least 25 points coming from 12 simple moves. What has been his accomplishments from those 12 moves? A career total of over 25,000 points, an average of 24 points both in the regular season and playoffs, 14 straight seasons where he averaged 20 or more points, and the 2012-2013 scoring title.
What has been overshadowed in his career, is his impact. Yes his PER and win shares isn't high, but that shouldn't overshadow the impact that he had on the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks. In his first year with the Nuggets, he elevated them from a 17 win team, to a playoff team. For the next 4 seasons, Denver was a playoff team with Anthony improving his game. The only problem was that they kept losing. In 3 of those 5 seasons they lost to the finals participant of the West in the Spurs (2005 and 2007) and Lakers (2008). Then things changed in 2009. With a midseason acquisition of floor general Chauncey Billups and the athletic big man duo of Kenyon Martin and Nene Hilario, the Nuggets won 54 games and clinched the second spot in the Western Conference with Anthony leading the way averaging 23 points and 6 rebounds. They met a Hornets team led by Chris Paul who had won 49 games. But in what was supposed to be an exciting series, turned into a cakewalk for the Nuggets who won in 5 games which included winning the final 2 games by scores of 58 and 21. Their next series against the Dallas Mavericks, saw Melo hit a game winner in game 3 in what was another easy 5 game series for Denver. Despite giving Kobe Bryant and the heavily favored Lakers everything they had in the Conference Finals, they were too much for Nuggets as they won in 6 games. The 2009-2010 season once again saw the Nuggets as one of the top teams in the West. Melo was amazing, averaging 25 points. In one game, he hit a game winner over LeBron James in a marquee game against the Cavaliers. But they went back to their first round woes, losing to the Utah Jazz in 5 games. What happened in the offseason, got the entire NBA watching.
In July of 2010, LeBron James signed with the Miami Heat to join all stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Another close friend of Anthony in Amare Stoudemire signed with the Knicks. Later in that summer, LeBron called a toast advising that Carmelo and Paul join Stoudemire in New York to form a big three of their own if they wanted to beat the Heat. That got Melo thinking. With one year left on his contract, he could either go to New York in free agency or force a trade since Denver would probably want to get something out of him if he leaves. But with the collective bargaining agreement expiring, a lockout was likely to happen. Therefore, if Melo would want to be on a team during the lockout, he would have to force a trade to the Knicks which was his prime destination. But through the first 50 games, he grew unhappier since no trade was happening even though he was still balling out with the Nuggets. On February 22, 2011 Paul remained on the Hornets, but `Melo was traded to the Knicks.
Technically, this was a homecoming for Melo because he lived the first 8 years of his life in Brooklyn before moving to Baltimore. So when he walked out the tunnel for his first game as a Knick, the crowd was probably the loudest since Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing got his number retired. Melo didn't disappoint either, scoring 28 points in his first game which was a win over the Milwaukee Bucks. The Knicks would be inconsistent in the second half of the season, but still made the playoffs: the first time they made it in 7 seasons. They would however lose to the Boston Celtics in 4 games. The Knicks got off to slow start the next season since most players were out of shape with the NBA strike happening for the first 16 games. Fortunately they improved and by the time the season ended, the Knicks were one of the hottest teams in the NBA. Anthony was playing amazing basketball in April, averaging just under 30 points a game. His best game in not just his Knicks career, but his entire career, came in that season against the Chicago Bulls. The Knicks started off strong, but the Bulls who were the #1 seed that year, rallied to take what seemed to be a commanding lead. Then Melo hit a three pointer to send the game into overtime. Once again, the Bulls looked like they were going to escape with a victory. But Anthony had other plans. With the clock running down as well as the Knicks' playoff hopes, he hit a spectacular shot with Luol Deng's hand right in his face. The Knicks won the game and made the playoffs where they faced the Miami Heat. They lost the series, but they managed to break their streak of 13 straight playoff losses thanks to a 41 point performance by Melo in game 4. 2012-2013 was arguably the best season in Carmelo's career. The Knicks won 54 games and their division with Melo serving as the catalyst. He averaged 28 points which won him the scoring title and helped the Knicks win 13 straight games. In the playoffs against Boston, Anthony averaged 29 points and led the Knicks to victory in 6 games: their first playoff series win since 2000. But all of the happiness ended in the second round against the Indiana Pacers. The next 4 seasons had bright moments which included Melo scoring a career high and franchise record 62 points, reaching 20,000 points, and hitting many clutch shots and game winners. But he was playing those seasons with a terrible supporting cast which included playing with the likes of Andre Bargnani, Jose Calderon, and Joakim Nosh amongst others. The coaches and the front office didn't help either, as they served as distractions to the team. All of these factors caused the Knicks to miss the playoffs in all of those seasons. Then Carmelo was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder one month before the 2017-2018 season.
He spent his only season in Oklahoma City as the third option behind Russell Westbrook and Paul George, averaging a solid 16 points and 5 rebounds. But the more was needed out of him. Especially in the playoffs against the Jazz where the Thunder couldn't afford to put him in during the final 3 games. In July, he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks before agreeing to a buyout where he was put on waivers. He agreed to a one year contract at the veteran minimum with the Houston Rockets. His season wasn't a success and even though he accepted whatever role Houston gave him, it wasn't enough to save him. He was released after only 12 games.
So that leads us to now. It's hard to believe that a player who has scored over 25,000 points with some of the most basic moves and turn teams from laughingstocks into playoff teams, wouldn't be on a roster. While some think he is someone that can only score, but not win, they are forgetting how great he truly was. As a huge Knicks fan, Carmelo is still my favorite player on that team and I think he had a good tenure in the Big Apple. When he retires, his ability to score and win should be the first thing that comes to mind when you say the name Carmelo Anthony.
Yesterday was a day that lots of Knicks fans will remember. It will either be remembered for positive or negative reasons. What happened was that the Knicks traded their promising star Kristaps Porizingis to the Dallas Mavericks along with Tim Hardway Jr., Courtney Lee, and Trey Burke. The Knicks in return, got DeAndre Jordan, Dennis Smith Jr., and Wesley Matthews.
To a good amount of Knicks fans, it was a devastating blow for them to see Porzingis who was an all star last season, averaging 22 points before tearing his A.C.L. on February 6. He then expressed displeasure about the direction that the team was heading this year, with a 10-40 record, despite a bright long term future. The future free agent was traded shortly afterward. He thanked the city of New York on his Twitter and Instagram account.
However, there is now a bright spot. With the trade, the Knicks know have over 70 million in cap space. Good enough to land 2 max contract superstars in free agency. This year's free agency features star players Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker, and much more players. They also have a shot at getting who some consider to be the next LeBron James: small forward Zion Williamson out of Duke. They have already had a successful draft class in promising forward Kevin Knox, a pogo-stick center in Mitchell Robinson, and scoring guard Alonzo Trier who was undrafted. The factor that also makes another successful draft class possible, is the fact that there is lots of trust in the Knicks management.
As for free agency, they've been rumored to be Kyrie Irving's next team since he asked to be traded in 2017 when he was on the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he eventually got shipped to Boston. The rumors started to swirl up again when reports stated that he wasn't happy on the Celtics. Despite publicly saying that he will resign with the Celtics this preseason, last month was a whirlwind that only focused by Irving wanting out. Before the season, the Knicks had a 47% chance compared to the 44% that Boston had. After his comments, it now seems more likely than ever unless something else happens.
Durant's rumors started before this NBA season, as rumors said that he was unhappy in Golden State. His brother, Tony Durant, commented on his Instagram post after opening day, "yessir brother!!!! Filling the hand up before we get outta here." He was referring to Golden State. Durant's body language has also seemed to indicate that he wants out. In some games, he played very well but didn't win, such as in Toronto where he put up 51 points, but was outwitted by Leonard in a loss. He has also constantly declined to talk about free agency. New York has also been the favorites to land him.
So for Knicks fans, 2018-19 may have been a lost season regarding their record, but they've already seen growth from most of their young players. Thanks to their entire draft class last year which has stirred up positivity, they are likely to have another successful all around draft class, They will be able to use their cap space to get from one to two marquee free agents. So with that, Knicks fans who have seen them miss the playoffs 14 times since 2001, this off season should and probably will change all of that.