The turmoil in New York may be ending as the franchise will now have to rebound from all of the damage Phil Jackson has done to this team the past few years. Yesterday Team Owner James Dolan woke up and finally realized that Phil Jackson was clueless in his role as team President, firing him and moving on.
Obviously this move was long overdue as during Jackson’s tenure he has done nothing but stir up trouble, starting a media war against the teams best player Carmelo Anthony, and making poor moves along the way.
Fans have been calling for his head for about a year now and their prayers have now been answered. I know people who would not watch a Knick game as long as Phil was in charge, so more people will now be paying attention to this team.
This was obviously a move that was necessary, but I’m sorry it is much too late. Dolan extended Phil Jackson’s contract and allowed him to lead the charge during the draft process, and he picked their first round pick Frank Ntilikina because he was the player best suited to run his triangle offense. Well now the triangle offense will not be used in New York, so who knows how well he will perform.
The departure of Jackson may not be the only big name leaving the Knicks franchise this offseason as Carmelo Anthony may be the next man to go. He has openly stated that he will accept a buyout if the Knicks will allow him to walk and join the Cavaliers. Melo also will waive his trade clause if they trade him to the Rockets.
Now all year long I was saying how the Knicks should keep Carmelo and that fans need to get behind him. However, I have had a change of heart. I still believe Carmelo can be a big part of a playoff team and that the Knicks really aren’t that far off from that becoming a reality. Will they win a championship? No, they are not that close to dominance but there are players like Derrick Rose, Jeff Teague, and Paul Millsap out there that could help this team revive itself very quickly.
The fact of the matter is that they could bring in some valuable pieces for a future Knicks team by trading him to the Rockets. The Rockets front office has openly stated that they are going into an all-in season, so they will most likely be willing to give up a decent amount to bring in Melo.
Even after trading 7 players to the Clippers in order to obtain Chris Paul they still have some valuable pieces left that would be enticing to deal Melo for. In order to afford Anthony the Rockets will most likely have to deal the sixth man of the year Eric Gordon, and if Carmelo goes to the Rockets he will most likely replace Ariza in the lineup so he should be available as well.
Both Ariza and Gordon are not star players in any stretch but if you add a first round pick into that package why not pull the trigger? The Knicks need to look towards the future and trading Melo will officially get that started, and will allow for the Knicks to have a lot more money to spend for this offseason and next years as well.
Ariza and Gordon are starter caliber players that would fill two holes and would save the Knicks 5 million dollars in cap space for this upcoming season and 28 million for the next season. The Rockets may not want to part will Gordon who is under contract through 2019-2020 for 12-14 million a year. If that is the case then I would still trade for Ariza and two future first round picks, with no protection on them. Trevor Ariza is only under contract for one more year and is a solid starter at an affordable rate, around 7.4 million.
The two picks could prove to be valuable because if the Rockets don’t succeed Chris Paul can opt out after the season, Carmelo’s contract is over in two seasons, and Harden could opt out at the same time. So, this team in two years could have no stars, which in this league usually means a lottery pick at the end of the season; so the Knicks should require first rounders for 2020 and 2021.
Trading Carmelo is the move to make, and would be another turn in this really unusual offseason. The Knicks need to think like a baseball team at the trade deadline that can’t make a valid push for the playoffs, sell your star player for the best package you can get.
We will see how the Knicks handle themselves the next few months and it will be interesting.