Tag Archives: New York Knicks

The intriguing possibility of Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James joining forces in 2015

By: Jon

 

Why LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony should opt into their current deals?

Over the long term, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony will make more money. Instead of signing a five year deal this offseason for about $130 million, the two stars can make $21 million this season and then sign a similar $130 million deal the next summer. Although opting in would be allow the duo to score more money, Melo and LeBron have earned so much money over their careers on and off the court that they will look for a better team than money. If LeBron and Carmelo opt into their current deals, they will have a better chance at winning multiple titles in the future. Next season, James and Melo will have a difficult time winning a championship, if they remain on their same teams.

Although James will have a chance to win a title, Melo will have absolutely no chance of winning a title or even a playoff round next year. Without any cap room, no draft picks, and a first year head coach, the Knicks will be unable to improve their squad which did not even make the playoffs this season. Although Melo will likely make the playoffs next season as a six or seven seed because JR Smith will have a better season, Chandler will play better defense, Amar’e played well at the end of last season, and Tim Hardaway should improve from his solid freshman performance, Melo wants to become a legend and a champion, which will not happen without help.

Will these two USA teammates team up? Courtesy of ESPN
Will these two USA teammates team up?
Courtesy of ESPN

 

Along with Melo’s problems, James will have trouble winning another championship with his current teammates. Unless a miracle occurs, Wade retires, and Bosh leaves Miami, LeBron will have the same team. Dwyane Wade’s knees make him an inconsistent star and Chris Bosh is not a number two that can help LeBron reach a title. This season, LeBron was forced to carry the Heat and it has visibly taken a tole on the best and strongest player in the world. If the duo waits a year, they can create a new big three and win a few more titles. In 2015, the Heat will have very little on their payroll and will be able to sign three stars.

Along with the Heat, the Knicks will have a lot of cap room and be able to sign 3 stars. During the summer of 2015, Kevin Love, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo, LeBron James, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Brook Lopez will be free agents. Any combination of LeBron, Melo, and another star would instantly make the Knicks or Heat instant contenders and the favorite to win the championship. The triplet of LeBron, Melo, and Kevin Love would give Melo and LeBron the best chance of winning multiple championships in the future. Unlike the other stars, Love is only 25 and is entering the prime of his career. When the duo reaches their age 35 season, Love would be 30 and carry the team. As seen from the current Miami Big Three, the Heat frequently have trouble rebounding against the bigger teams. Love is an overall better player than Bosh because he is a better three point shooter and is willing to rebound at a high level, unlike Bosh. Also, at this stage of his career, Carmelo Anthony is a better player than Dwyane Wade. Due to Wade’s injured knees, he does not have the same explosiveness and his jumper is inconsistent. Although Melo will eventually age, his ability to hit jumpers will make his skills diminish at a slower pace.

 

Why LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony should opt out of their current deals?

Although in a perfect world LeBron and Melo would opt into their current deals, become free agents, and form a new big three, the possibility of the plan laid out above is highly unlikely. Under the current circumstances, Carmelo is high likely to opt out of his current deal because he cannot stand another season of horrendous basketball. If Melo opts out of his current deal, he will have many enticing options this offseason, including the Bulls, Lakers, and Rockets. The Bulls have Derrick Rose, although frequently injured, Jimmy Butler, and Joakim Noah. The Lakers have Bryant, a top ten pick in a stud draft, but most importantly they are the Lakers and Kevin Love desperately wants to return home and play for the Lakers.

How great would it be if Melo joined forces with Kobe and Kevin Love in Los Angeles? Courtesy of Laker Nation
How great would it be if Melo joined forces with Kobe and Kevin Love in Los Angeles?
Courtesy of Laker Nation

 

The combination of Love, Bryant, Anthony, and Julius Randle would give the Lakers and Anthony a great chance at winning multiple titles over the next few years. Although Bryant will eventually retire, Randle, Anthony, and Love would be a great big three that could win multiple championships because Randle and Love have yet to enter their prime. Also, the Lakers have shown a willingness to spend money in order to build a strong bench. Although the Rockets will have to finagle and trade a few big contracts, they could sign Anthony and pair him with Howard and Harden. Although the option of LeBron and Love would be the best choice, the other teams would prove as great opportunities for Anthony and his hope to win a championship.

While it would prove best for Anthony top opt out, James may opt out  in order to sign his max long term deal. James may be able to convince Bosh or Wade to take less money in order to sign and form a deeper bench. However, it is undecided if Bosh will reunite with the Heat as the third wheel on Miami. Although he has won two championships, he receives the most criticism on the team and his numbers have been declining over the past few seasons. Also, it is unlikely that Love will find his way to Miami because the Timberwolves are likely to trade him and if he goes to free agency the Lakers are the best option for him. If Miami wins another title against the Spurs, LeBron will be more likely to stay and believe that he can win a few more titles with Miami.

Phil Jackson and the Knicks: A Recipe for Success

By: Prad

Phil Jackson has previously been associated with the New York Knicks. And it was a winning time for the team. Although not as significant as others on the team, Jackson was a member of the Knicks’ teams that won Championships in 1970 and 1973. He was last affiliated with the Knicks on April 23, 1978 when he played his final game in uniform for the team. Much has changed in the Big Apple since his departure 35 years ago. The team has failed to capture a ring since that ’73 title run and the team up to this point in the season is moving in the wrong direction. 

Can the Zen Master turn things around? Courtesy of Bleacher Report
Can the Zen master turn things around?
Courtesy of Bleacher Report

Last season, the Knicks finished with an impressive 54-28 record and the second seed in the Eastern Conference. They won their first playoff series in a decade and it looked like the Knicks were finally coming back from a decade of turbulence that included front office mishaps and issues with player personnel. It appeared as if the Knicks were building a head of steam and could potentially make another big step by making the Eastern Conference Finals this season. This hope faded quickly though as the Knicks held a 3-13 record by the beginning of December. Head Coach Mike Woodson was blamed for the dismal record, but no single member of the team could possibly have taken full responsibility for the atrocious start. The team was out of playoff contention and the team looked at this season as a failure until very recently.

New York has been climbing itself out of the hole that it dug for itself in the past couple weeks. Prior to the official signing of Phil Jackson, the Knicks were riding a six game winning streak and hitting its stride. The Knicks faced its biggest challenge in the past few weeks when it played Indiana tonight. I don’t know if it was Phil Jackson’s presence at Madison Square Garden, but the Knicks played some of their best ball of the season during that win against a gritty Pacers team. They currently stand four games out of the final playoff spot in the poor performing East. The momentum from the last week and an easy slate of upcoming games may turn things around in New York this season. The Jackson signing can’t hurt either.

More importantly, the five-year $60 million signing of Phil Jackson as President of Basketball Operations provides optimism for the future of the franchise. The Zen master, who holds the highest winning percentage (70.2% at 1155-485) in NBA history, now takes on his first front office position. Nobody knows for certain if his winning ways will translate to him as an executive.  Yet, his signing certainly provides the aforementioned motivation for his players to work harder. And he knows what kinds of things need to be in place for the wins to pile up.

The Knicks can give Melo more money than any other club this offseason Courtesy of Sports Illustrated
The Knicks can give Melo more money than any other club this offseason
Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

At this point, his top priority must be to sign Carmelo Anthony, who is expected to opt out of his current deal. New York can offer him almost $30 million more than any other team this summer at five years for $129 million. It has also recently been reported that Melo is willing to change his role within the offense and even take less money if Jackson believes that it can bolster the team’s performance and chances at a title in the near future.

Past this, Jackson does not seem to have much room to operate. Andrea Bargnani, Tyson Chandler, and Amar’e Stoudemire are all signed until the end of next year at a whopping $50 million. This doesn’t allow for much room this offseason but Jackson will have to make a splash in free agency the following summer. This lack of financial flexibility causes problems for a team that has mediocre role players. No solution is in sight unless Jackson can work his magic by restructuring a few contracts in the next several months.

All signs also point to Jackson dismissing Coach Mike Woodson at the conclusion of this season. It will be interesting to see who Jackson picks to succeed the underperforming Woodson. He might pick someone who implements the triangle offense, a game plan Jackson made popular during his tenures with the Bulls and Lakers. Ultimately, Jackson will be the one shaping the offense for years to come with his acquisitions and shaping of the roster.

Knicks owner James Dolan will give Phil Jackson full freedom with the fate of the franchise Courtesy of NY Daily News
Knicks owner James Dolan will give Phil Jackson full freedom with the future of the franchise
Courtesy of NY Daily News

Nevertheless, the fate of the franchise essentially rests in Jackson’s hands as owner James Dolan will give him unlimited room to operate. This is pretty difficult for Dolan, who’s basically influenced every single decision the Knicks have made since the turn of the century. Jackson has the opportunity to bring a glimmer of hope to a fan base that hasn’t seen much success in quite some time. His recent signing with New York ushers in a new era of optimism and hopefully wins for a club that has been struggling since his departure three and a half decades ago.

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division Preview

By: Jon

The teams in the Atlantic Division have undergone a major switch in the last few years. The Celtics have traded their good players. The Raptors are mess as usual. Philadelphia is in full fledged rebuilding mode after trading their best player to the Pelicans for a first round pick. The Knicks are the defending champions, but have many questions. The Nets made the biggest trade of the offseason by trading for Pierce and Garnett.

1) Brooklyn Nets

The Nets are hoping that Pierce and Garnett will lead them to a championship Courtesy of ESPN
The Nets are hoping that Pierce and Garnett will lead them to a championship Courtesy of ESPN

The Nets made the biggest trade in the offseason and it may enable them to be the most improved team in the league. Although the additions of Pierce, Garnett, Terry, and Kirilenko have generated much criticism, the team is better than last year’s team and is more suited to go deep into the playoffs in a difficult Eastern Conference. On paper, the Nets look like one of the best team’s in the NBA because they have a complete roster. Although the Nets have a solid team on paper, they have many flaws and issues that they must overcome, in order for them to succeed and meet expectations. The whole roster is old and injury prone. As long as the Nets’ roster stays moderately healthy, they will easily win a depleted Atlantic Division and compete for one of the top three positions in the Easter Conference. Although Garnett does not have the skill to carry a team, like Minnesota or his early days in Boston, he is the best leader in the league and provides an abundance amount of energy and passion to the court. Last year, the Nets were below average at defense. However, Garnett will not stand for anything but greatness. During his days with Minnesota and Boston, the teams were always great at defense. He will hold player accountable for their actions, which will make them a better team instantly. On offense, the Nets should be one of the top teams in the league. They have numerous options on offense, which should lead to open opportunities. Compared to last year, the Nets will not be slowed by two horrific offensive players, Reggie Evans and Gerald Wallace. Like last year, the Nets bench should be steady. Andre Kirilenko is a competitor for the sixth man of the year and Andre Blatche is one of the most talented bench players in the league. Although they made need time to gel, since Williams has not been able to play during the preseason, the Nets will be a top three team in the East and make it to at least the second round of the playoffs.

2) New York Knicks

Melo hopes to repeat as scoring champ but more importantly win the Atlantic Courtesy of ESPN
Melo hopes to repeat as scoring champ but more importantly win the Atlantic Courtesy of ESPN

After winning the Atlantic Division and earning the number two seed in the East, the Knicks look to repeat their success from last year. The Knicks have many questions that must be answered if they are going to make the playoffs this season. The Knicks have many injury prone players that are part of their core. Besides for Anthony, the Knicks do not have consistent options on offense. Last season, the Knicks second best scorer was JR Smith. However, Smith cannot be the second scorer for a quality playoff team. As seen from their playoff results, if Smith is not playing at a extraordinary high level, the Knicks will have trouble scoring and lose many games against quality opponents. The Knicks have the talent, if healthy, to compete with the Nets for first place in the Atlantic. If Stoudemire and Chandler can revive their careers and return to their All-Star status, the Knicks will be a solid team that can score and play feisty defense. Fortunately for the Knicks, they have Carmelo Anthony. During his career, Melo has never missed the playoffs. Anthony is one of the top three scorers in the league and can carry a team for a few weeks. If Stoudemire, Hardaway, or Shumpert can become offensive weapons, Melo will not be required to score 30 points a night and strain himself through a 82 game season. In the postseason last season, Anthony was unable to perform at such a high level because his body was worn and his shoulders could not handle the stress of carrying the Knicks. This season, the Knicks may be more suited for the postseason. During the regular season, the Knicks will not win 54 games, like last season, because they will not be able to maintain their three point consistency. However, if the Knicks can rest their stars and keep Stoudemire, Bargnani, and Chandler healthy, the Knicks will be a tough out because they have the ability to play suffocating defense and have a dominant scorer that can will a series by himself.

3) Toronto Raptors

Rudy Gay looks to lead an up and coming Toronto team Courtesy of ESPN
Rudy Gay looks to lead an up and coming Toronto team Courtesy of ESPN

After a fantastic preseason, 6-1, the Raptors hope that they can be successful in the regular season. The Raptors have improved over the last few years and may compete for a playoff spot this season. After losing Chris Bosh three years ago, the Raptors finally found a star that could replace him in Rudy Gay. Although he is not worth his $19 million contract, Gay is a proficient scorer that can create shots for himself and his teammates. The Raptors have their best team in the last few seasons. The Raptors offense should experience a lot of success because of the talent on the team. If Terrence Ross can meet expectations as a lottery pick from last season, the Raptors will have three good scoring options that can score 20 points on any given night, Ross, Gay, and DeRozan. The Raptors should continue focusing on improving their young players, DeRozan, Ross, and Valanciunas. Although the Raptors do not have the talent to currently contend with the Nets and Knicks, they have the potential to become contenders in a few more years. Besides Ross, the biggest X Factor for the Raptors is Jonas Valanciunas. Jonas, the Raptors first round pick from two years ago, has the potential to be one of the best big man in the league. Although Jonas did not have a great first season due to injury, Jonas ended the season strong, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Jonas is a big, versatile man, who can protect the rim and effectively defend his man. Jonas will be important for the Raptors because they do not have the best perimeter defenders. Jonas will need to protect the rim and set the defense so that they rotate correctly and prevent easy buckets. The Raptors will improve from last season, but they will not win enough wins to make a playoff spot or compete for the Atlantic Division crown.

4) Boston Celtics

Jeff Green must carry the Celts on offense while Rondo is on the shelf Courtesy of ESPN
Jeff Green must carry the Celts on offense while Rondo is on the shelf Courtesy of ESPN

The Celtics are in rebuilding mode. After a five year run that netted a championship, two trips to the finals, and numerous memorable moments, Danny Ainge decided to restart and trade away part of the core. Although the Celtics trade two sure fire Hall of Famers, they were able to obtain future draft considerations that will help them quicken the rebuilding process. The next interesting decision will be whether the team keeps or trades All Star point guard Rajon Rondo. Rondo is an absolute magician with the ball and under a team friendly contract for the foreseeable future. If Ainge decides to trade Rondo, he would receive at least one first round pick and a budding star. However, it is unlikely that he will be traded because he is coming off of a major knee injury and his trade value is quite low. This season, the Celtics’ fans should not have high hopes for their team. The first half of the year will be incredibly rough as Brad Stevens, first year head coach, will have to become acclimated to being an NBA coach and the team must learn to gel without their best player and starting point guard. The Celtics will probably win about 20 games this season. For much of the season, they will be led by starting small forward Jef Green. Green is a versatile and solid player, but far from a superstar in the league. Although they do not want to admit their intentions to the fans, the Celtics brass is hoping that the team loses enough games to secure a top pick in next year’s star studded draft. With a lucky ping pong ball, the Celtics fortune could be changed, if they can draft Wiggins, Parker, Randle, or Gordon. However, Ainge hopes that Brad Stevens can convert his college success to NBA success and his young players, Bradley, Sullinger, Olynyk, and Brooks, improve as the season wears.

5) Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers hope that MCW is a building block for the future Courtesy of ESPN
The 76ers hope that MCW is a building block for the future Courtesy of ESPN

If people feel bad for the Celtics’ fans, I do not know how they would feel toward the 76ers’ fans. This season, the 76ers are going to be absolutely horrible. In terms of talent, this team compares to the Bobcats of two years ago and the Nets of four years ago, each teams that won less than 20 games. After good 2012 season where they made the second of the playoffs, the 76ers had a horrible years last season, partly due to the Andrew Bynum disaster. Besides for losing their coach, the 76ers traded away their lone All-Star and best player Jrue Holiday to the Pelicans for Nerlens Noel and a first round pick in next year’s draft. Michael Carter Williams, the 76ers other first round pick, does not have the talent to turn around the struggling franchise and make the team competitive this year. The 76ers have a really young team that should continue to develop and improve as the season progresses. The 76ers will be leaning on “veterans” Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young to carry the team, while the young players get their feet wet. Unfortunately, the 76ers will probably be without the 6th overall pick, Nerlens Noel, for the entire season, as a returns from an ACL injury. The 76ers are hoping that next year’s draft class will turn around their future and lead them to the playoffs in the next few years. They will probably have a top 3 pick because of their lack of talent and inability to win games. Also, they obtain the Pelicans’ pick, which should be inside the top 10 or at least the top 15. The 76ers are hoping that the combination of two more lottery picks, Nerlens Noel, and Michael Carter Williams will be able to lead them to a title or at least multiple playoff berths. Although it seems difficult to understand, the 76ers could be the best team in the division in five years because of the assets and cap space that they currently obtain.

stats from espn.com