2014 New York Knicks

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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New York Knicks (Last Year: 37-45)

2013-14 Season Summary:
The Miami Heat are where the New York Knicks were hoping to be. Instead, the Knicks’ attempt to build around a Big Three backfired as the franchise took a major step backward, failing to even make the playoffs in the insanely weak Eastern Conference.

There has been a changing of the guard as James Dolan has shelled out a ton of money to hire Phil Jackson as team president and hire the recently retired Derek Fisher as a first-time head coach. The next step this offseason is convincing Carmelo Anthony to remain with New York rather than opting out of the final year of his contract and testing free agency.

2014-15 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Tyson Chandler/^Jeremy Tyler

PF: *Andrea Bargnani/*Amar’e Stoudemire

SF: *Carmelo Anthony/Metta World Peace

SG: Iman Shumpert/J.R. Smith/Tim Hardaway Jr./#Shannon Brown

PG: Raymond Felton/Pablo Prigioni/^Toure’ Murray

NBA Free Agents:

*SF-Carmelo Anthony (PO)

*PF-Amar’e Stoudemire (PO)

*PF-Andrea Bargnani (PO)

PF-Kenyon Martin (UFA)

PG-Beno Udrih (UFA)

C-Cole Aldrich (UFA)

#SG-Shannon Brown (TO)

^C-Jeremy Tyler (RFA)

^SG-Toure’ Murray (RFA)

2014-15 Team Salary: Approximately $91.5 million

NBA Offseason Team Needs:

1. Convince Melo to Stay: Carmelo has a player option on the final year of his contract worth about $23.5 million. More than likely, he will opt of his deal and test the waters to see what interest is out there. Teams like the Bulls, Rockets, Mavs, and even Heat have already been thrown around as potential suitors for Anthony. The latest buzz has Miami’s Big Three all taking paying cuts to allow Anthony to join them in South Beach and create a Big Four.

Jackson has already been aggressive in trying to convince Melo to stay in the Big Apple, but after this past season, you couldn’t blame Anthony if he wanted to start anew somewhere else. Maybe Jackson can convince him to stay one more year and then try to make some major moves next summer with all that cap space freeing up. Working out a sign-and-trade to try and net something in return would be another option. This should be one of the most interesting plots of the NBA offseason.

2. Bargain Shopping: Since New York is massively over the cap and doesn’t have any picks in the 2014 NBA Draft, the organization will have to go bargain shopping in free agency hoping to land role players for the league minimum. Frontcourt depth is the biggest need on the roster, and small forward will be added to that list if Anthony does leave.

3. Patience: If Melo ends up bolting for greener pastures this summer, the Knicks would be best off holding pat and not making any major moves. With Stoudemire, Chandler, and Bargnani all coming off the books after next season, New York has the potential to start from scratch in the summer of 2015 since the team would have a boatload of cap space. Trying to make major moves and acquiring massive salaries has only hurt the franchise; maybe the Knicks will actually learn their lesson.

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