Last season was a bridge season. Now, the New York Knicks actually begin their rebuild around Carmelo Anthony, who is still not 100% after his surgery earlier this year, with some thin optimism in the air.
What is there to be optimistic about? Anthony should be healthy and this time, there will be no tanking. The Knicks added Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo, Kyle O’Quinn and Derrick Williams through free agency in the offseason. Not All-Stars, but good players who are going to be able to pull the Knicks forward from their 17-win bottoming out last season, without being too hefty of a burden on the salary cap going forward. Jerian Grant was taken in the draft.
There’s also Kristaps Porzingis, the Latvian big man who was the Knicks’ fourth overall pick. As Anthony said while attending the Team USA camp in Las Vegas, when you look at the draft, you want somebody that you can develop right away. Porzingis is a guy who has some upside to him. Did we get one of the top three picks? No, we didn’t get one of the top three. Whoever we drafted, it was going to be an issue anyway. That’s just what happens in New York and the draft. But I’m good, man, mentally, physically, spiritually. I’m excited about the new team that we have and I look forward to leading them.
Is this team going to make the playoffs? Hard to tell in the East. But the Knicks have a better team than last season, that’s for sure, something to build on.
When Anthony signed his new deal, a five-year $124 million contract, he said that he’s about winning championships and titles. Now he knows and we know it’s about more than that. It’s about the money the Knicks offered him, being the only ones who can, which is perfectly fine. It’s about his wife not wanting to leave New York. That’s fine too.
But telling everyone that he’s about winning a championship and then declining all the teams better positioned to win it than the Knicks? That’s just lying to people and taking them for fools. But that’s all in the past. Anthony is on the Knicks, ready to win, hoping to win.
Fact is, that a 31-year old Anthony, entering his 13th NBA season, isn’t going to win an NBA title as the #1 option on a team. Not before, obviously, not now and not ever. Luckily for him, once the new salary cap bump takes his place, his contract won’t be as cap crippling as it was before, allowing the Knicks to sign someone better, if they would actually want to come.