Very few people are sad to see J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert leaving via trade, but this officially means the New York Knicks are tanking to try and finish at the bottom of the Eastern conference in the 2014-2015 season, which means the Philadelphia 76ers have competition for the worst team in the NBA.
The Knicks lost to the Memphis Grizzlies 105-83 with a rag tag crew that didn’t have a single power forward among the nine players and no shooting guards or centers coming off the bench. It wasn’t surprising, as it was their 12th consecutive loss and 22nd in 23 games. This team was built to try and navigate through the weak East and maybe finish with a playoff spot, learning the triangle while Carmelo Anthony has everyone rally around him.
That was the premise and idea. It included Derek Fisher doing his internship as an NBA head coach while Phil Jackson supervises from above. Jackson didn’t have a lot to do with this roster during the offseason. Now he has made this team terrible, especially if Anthony is going to be shut down for the season, similar to how the Lakers treated Kobe Bryant last year when it was clear there wasn’t anything to achieve and his knees and bodies and general weren’t 100%.
Jackson has now got himself an excellent cap situation. With Smith’s money off the books and Shumpert’s contract expiring anyway, the Knicks will have only $36 million on the books for next season, most of it going to Carmelo Anthony, making $22.87 million. No more Amare Stoudemire, no more Andrea Bargnani, but a lot of room to start adding players Jackson actually wants, and a way out for the Knicks from a bad situation they found themselves falling into.
They did get some players out of this trade, although it’s quite doubtful they’ll stay with the team for very long. Alex Kirk and Lou Amundson from the Cavaliers, both on nonguaranteed contracts and also Lance Thomas from the Oklahoma City Thunder, also sending a second round draft pick to the Knicks. They paid with two draft picks and an insignificant player for Dion Waiters, while the Cavaliers are now the ones who’ll have to deal with J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert.
This might end up being the worst season in franchise history, already losing five of their first 37 games. They’re now at the bottom of the Eastern conference, looking depressed and broken, unlike the 76ers, who actually seem to be having fun in their situation, adapted to being lams set up for the slaughter a long time ago. Maybe in the end it’ll get better, but in order to reach that stage, the Knicks are tanking, which means a whole lot of terrible games, losses and moments for their fans.