After years of repetitive failures, the New York Knicks look to change perception and the results of the 2021 upcoming season. With questions swirling about the direction of the new management headed by president Leon Rose, let’s dive into the priorities for the Knicks as they reassemble this young roster that finished with a weak 21-45 record in 2020. The young roster has promise with Mitchell Robinson coming into his own and hopes for Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, and R.J. Barrett to take big steps after disappointing yet young performances.
The immediate need that comes to mind is a veteran presence. We’re not talking about Chris Paul using up half of the salary cap. We’re not talking about Carmelo Anthony and his state of mind. Looking ahead, the New York Knicks need to target veteran backcourt players with resumes like Taj Gibson. Players that have clocked in the years and hours and players that are methodical and professional. Players like Andre Iguodala and Jared Dudley.
Get With The Times
The secondary need in free agency would be a capable guard that can score and create off the dribble. The Knicks have not had a decent floor general since Raymond Felton. This is a primary need that must be addressed during the draft or free agency. An old and depleted Chris Paul at $40 million a year is not the answer. The answer is in a young prospect that has potential, similar to the gamble the Magic took on Markelle Fultz. In comes Frank Ntilikina, who will make his case to be a solid rotation player for any team this upcoming season. In reality, Ntilikina looks like a winning player with vast potential but strikes people more like a solid rotation player than a lead ball handler.
A move that the new front office regime should make is trading power forward Julius Randle. The guy is a ball stopper on offense. The team option attached to Randle’s contract makes him an attractive free agency bridge player. Perhaps he can be traded to a playoff contender like the Dallas Mavericks. Another trading partner would be a team looking to make a big splash in free agency like the Milwaukee Bucks or Golden State Warriors. All the teams mentioned have a plethora of assets. President Leon Rose needs to possess cunning negotiation skills to get anything for the forward. Why is he useless? He is not a great shooter and he tends to overdribble a lot. Randle can’t protect the rim which makes these prototypical power forward traits useless. He is not a positive complement to one of the Knicks’ cornerstones in Mitchell Robinson.
New York Knicks’ Front Office Plans
No one knows what the New York Knicks’ new plans are. Can team management improve the roster via an overhaul of talent? Will they trade away picks and valuable youth to jumpstart their path to the playoffs? Or could they simply develop the youth and add useful players and contracts to contribute to their long term plan? The smart plan would be to play the long game. Focus on the youth and add interested players as they come along. Target specific needs and keep goals short and specific for players and the team as a whole.
To wrap it up, the Knicks need to make moves but they also need to prudent with the new realities of the cap. The new world of COVID-19 will damper sales for the next 2 seasons and the cap may be cut in half. Due to this mess that is 2020, the cap space they received from the Kristaps Porzingis trade has proven to be completely pointless, as expected. New York Knicks’ fans should still have hope and keep their expectations in check.