NBA teams are spending their July trading away talent to tank for Andrew Wiggins – see Bucks, Celtics, 76ers – or unloading salaries to get in line to make a run at LeBron or D Wade or Chris Bosh or Carmelo Anthony next summer – see Lakers, Jazz, Cavaliers. What the hell are the Knicks doing? As usual, very dumb things. Colossally stupid things. I’d argue the Knicks have, for the last 15 years, made the worst moves of any of the major pro sports teams in New York (Jets, Giants, Knicks, Yankees, Mets). Let’s recap their hideous offseason, shall we?
* Retained JR Smith for 4-years and $22 million. He won the NBA 6th man award last season, but then shot 33 percent from the field in the playoffs (27 percent from deep). Who were they bidding against? It is unclear.
* Lost Jason Kidd and Rasheed Wallace to retirement.
* Lost Chris Copeland to free agency (Indiana). At 28 in his first NBA season, Copeland shot 47 percent from the field and 42 percent on three’s.
* Drafted Tim Hardaway Jr. (best thing they’ve done all summer).
* Andrea Bargnani, a 7-footer who doesn’t do anything well – especially rebound or play defense – was acquired via trade. They also gave up a #1 draft pick in 2016. The Knicks seem to envision him as a stretch 4. Hmmm.
* Signed Metta World Peace to a 2-year, $3.2 million deal. His game tailed off dramatically last season, and probably won’t play 25 minutes a night, but hey, fans will like him.
New York’s new rotation could look like this, although they’ll have plenty of options (and they’ll have to fill out the end of the bench, too):
C – Chandler
F – Bargnani/Amare
F – Melo/World Peace/CJ Leslie
G – Shumpert/JR Smith/Tim Hardaway Jr
G – Felton/Pablo Prigioni
Last year, the Knicks won 54 games. Yes, the East was down a bit because Derrick Rose was hurt, and Andrew Bynum missed all year in Philly and it took the Pacers some time to adjust to life without Danny Granger. New York won’t win 54 games next year, or probably even come close to that. I’d say 44-46 is much more realistic.
The worst part of all this? They’re essentially locked into this group – four aging guys making $11+ million next season – then the same four making $12+ million in 2014-2015. That’s if Carmelo doesn’t bail next summer for the Lakers. (When LA whiffs on LeBron, I think Melo heading West makes tons of sense). Let’s be honest – the 2012-2013 season was briefly the perfect storm for New York, and it all rapidly fell apart at the end of the regular season and then in the playoffs.