Wednesday, June 6, 2007

What New York should do in the offseason

The New York Knicks surprised the NBA for a while last year. In fact, the Knicks actually were the eighth best team in the East in March, but then Isiah Thomas was extended and the Knicks crumbled after that. In my opinion, had Thomas not been extended before the season was over, I think we would have seen the Knicks in the playoffs this year.
They have the Chicago Bulls pick in the first round, which is 23rd overall. With this pick, they can either trade it in a package to get a guy like Rashard Lewis or Jermaine O'Neal, two guys they have expressed interest in or they can draft a small forward or a shooting guard. I know, they already have Jamal Crawford, but he could move over to the point and shop Stephon Marbury and Steve Francis around.
New York is set at center and power forward for the next decade with Eddy Curry at center and David Lee at power forward and Channing Frye backing them up or moving Lee to small forward and Frye starting at power forward. Where their problems occur, other than Thomas of course, is at point guard. They have two people who don't yet know how to win in Stephon Marbury and Steve Francis and an undersized, but productive Nate Robertson. Marbury and Francis have also been sidelined for significant periods of time last year with injuries. Remember, this couldn't have been due to tanking, since they had to exchange their pick to the Bulls in the Curry deal.
For the offseason, I expect the Knicks to go after Lewis, O'Neal, and Kevin Garnett, but end up getting none of them and only be able to use their midlevel exception. In case some of you don't know, the Knicks are way over the salary cap and can't sign any major free agents without doing a sign and trade. Of course, just about anyone they are willing to give up does not generate a lot of interest from most of the other teams in the NBA. I expect them to try to either buy out or trade Francis and if someone offers them something decent for Marbury, he could go too since they are two of the highest paid players on the team.

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