Monday, March 3, 2014
Opening Tip: Rebuild around Melo, Tyson?
By Ian Begley
Ex-Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy saw what everyone else watching the Knicks on Sunday witnessed -- a team that seems to have quit on the season.
As the Bulls raced out to a 12-1 lead, ESPN/ABC's Mike Breen asked Van Gundy to analyze the issues that have plagued the Knicks this season.
He didn't mince words.
The most damning point Van Gundy made was that the Knicks don't have enough players who have the "hunger" to win.
So Van Gundy, the last coach before Mike Woodson to lead the Knicks to a playoff-series win, suggested the Knicks keep Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jeremy Tyler, and blow up the rest of the roster, filling it with players who are "hungry" enough to win in the NBA. (We'd add Toure' Murry to the list, but we understand Van Gundy's point.)
"You've got to get some hungry guys ... some durable, hungry guys to surround Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, who are the foundation for your team. If you just do that, [get] guys who are hungry, durable and can shoot a little bit, at least when you lose you can feel good about yourself," Van Gundy said.
Is Van Gundy's plan feasible? Sure. But it would take a lot of maneuvering by president/GM Steve Mills and the Knicks' front office to make it happen.
Here are the steps Mills and Co. would have to complete to execute Van Gundy's vision:
1. Find a team willing to trade for Amar'e Stoudemire's expiring contract, worth $23.4 million next season.
2. Find a team willing to take on Andrea Bargnani's contract, which has one year left on it. The team would have to be OK with taking on Bargnani at $11.5 million next season.
3. Maybe the hardest part of the roster overhaul: find teams willing to accept J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton in trade. Both players are under contract through the 2015-16 season. (And both have player options for that season that they are expected to exercise.)
4. Oh, and there's this: Mills would still have to convince Carmelo to re-sign this summer. While doing so, he would have to surround Anthony and Chandler with players who can defend and knock down shots.
That being said, do you think Van Gundy is onto something? Instead of waiting for the summer of 2015, should the Knicks blow everything up this summer and rebuild around Chandler and Anthony?
Up now: The Knicks lost in embarrassing fashion to the Bulls on Sunday to fall 17 games under .500.