Some things never change for the Knicks, and one of those is selling their fans on the players they’ll be able to get in the future. Amidst a 12-win season with very little upside, they’re already talking about free agency, when they’ll have the cap space to go after some big names. Head coach Derek Fisher is optimistic about their chances on that market.
New York is projected to have a top pick in the draft and expects to have more than $25 million to spend in free agency this summer. This combination of assets would appear to put the Knicks in good position to rebuild.
But some analysts and fans wonder whether the Knicks –- and first-year president Phil Jackson –- will be able to attract top talent to a team that has won just 12 games this season.
Fisher doesn’t see that as a problem.
“There will be a ton of really, really good players that — based on where they are in their careers — they would be interested in something that is being built from the ground up with some really successful people involved that have been able to build success in the past,” Fisher said after practice on Monday. “…. We have some numbers going into free agency; we’ll be able to sign some really good players.”
Yes, the Knicks will have plenty of cap space. But the question remains: Who are they signing? Why would LaMarcus Aldridge leave Portland for this situation? Why would Marc Gasol leave Memphis? Those are the only two players on the market who instantly turn a team as bad as the Knicks into a playoff threat, and neither one seems likely to leave their current teams. Their other options if they’re absolutely set on adding big-name talent this summer are Greg Monroe and Tobias Harris, and overpaying one of those players puts them right back into the same position they’ve been in since signing Amar’e Stoudemire and trading for Carmelo Anthony in 2010-11.
The Knicks have to talk about their increased hope. Nothing about the current team is compelling, with Anthony out for the year and not really any long-term talent on the roster outside of him. And the prospect of a top-five draft pick is legitimately worth getting excited about. But Knicks fans would do well to manage their expectations when it comes to free agency, because it’s probably going to be disappointing.