Monday, June 3, 2013
Bleak or bright future for 'Bockers?
By Ian Begley
ESPN paneled a group of 215 NBA reporters, analysts and editors, and asked them to forecast the future of all 30 NBA teams.
The rankings were based on the teams' outlook over the next three seasons.
The consensus on the Knicks? Not so good.
The panel ranked New York 25th out of 30 NBA teams.
That's a dire assessment for a team that finished with the second best record in the Eastern Conference in 2012-13.
The rankings were based on the following five categories: roster (current players and future projections), management (including ownership, the front office and coaching), money (salary cap situation and willingness to spend over the luxury tax), the market's appeal to free agents and the team's future draft picks.
Do you agree with the bleak assessment of the Knicks' future? Or do you think New York's future is bright?
Let's take a look at the factors listed above:
ROSTER: As Kevin Pelton notes in his assessment of the Knicks, for the future forecast, New York probably won't have much opportunity to add a major free agent in the next two years because it is projected to be a luxury-tax payer. As a result, the panel ranked the Knicks' roster 18th out of 30 teams.
Don't look up now, Melo. The Knicks' future doesn't look bright.
The books clear in 2015-16 though, when just Raymond Felton and Steve Novak are under contract. So the Knicks will have an opportunity to completely reshape the roster in the summer of 2015.
Prior to that, there may not be much opportunity for Glen Grunwald to wheel and deal unless he swings a major trade to clear cap space.
MANAGEMENT: The panel ranked Knicks management 21st, but I think that's a little low. Owner James Dolan has made many, many missteps during his tenure, but he deserves credit for ruling in favor of the trade for Carmelo Anthony, and for making a push to sign J.R. Smith. He also made the right call when the Knicks decided not to match the Houston Rockets' offer for Jeremy Lin.
Grunwald has had hits and misses but deserves a higher ranking for building a team that won 54 games. He added players that complemented Anthony well. One other plus for Grunwald? The Knicks should be -- at the very least -- competitive for the next two seasons.
Mike Woodson made his fair share of errors in the postseason, but deserves kudos for the way he navigated through injuries this season to lead the Knicks to a division crown and their first playoff series win since 2000.
MONEY: As stated above, the Knicks' financial situation is less than ideal. The contracts of Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire have left them little wiggle room.
They are expected to be tax payers for the next two years, so they're unlikely to add any big-money free agents. The new CBA carries a heavy penalty for repeat tax players. So they will have to improve through the draft and by attracting lower-tier free agents to New York. The panel ranks the Knicks' money situation 30th out of 30 teams.
MARKET: New York will always be a city that attracts free agents. Between the marketing opportunities, nightlife and media exposure, the Big Apple is a big draw for the biggest stars in sports. But the days of athletes needing to be in a big market to get national recognition are over, so New York has lost a little luster in that regard.
The panel ranks the Knicks' market third, which seems fair to us.
DRAFT: The panel ranked the Knicks' 30th in this category, and rightfully so. The Knicks undoubtedly have the lowest potential to improve through the draft over the next three years of any NBA team.
New York has a first-round pick this year, but has no second-round pick (it's Washington's, via the Chandler sign-and-trade). They have traded their first-round pick in 2014 (to Denver in the Anthony trade) and their second-round pick (to Houston in the Marcus Camby deal). They are slated to receive Oklahoma City's second-round pick in 2014, and there's a small chance they get Sacramento's as well. They have a first-round pick in 2015, but no second-round pick (it went to Houston in the Camby trade). Taking it a step further, Denver has the right to swap first-round picks with the Knicks in 2016 via the Anthony trade and their second-round pick will go to Portland if it falls outside of the first seven selections, a result of the Raymond Felton sign-and-trade.
QUESTION: Given all of the factors above, what do you think of the Knicks' future? Is it bleak or bright?