New York Knicks: Umm, Plan C, Anyone?
Reports have LeBron James leaning more and more towards teaming up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, giving the Heat one of the greatest reincarnations of the three-headed basketball team sine Pippen-Olajuwon-Barkley.
That leaves the New York Knicks in the precarious position of trying to figure something else out. LeBron James was Plan A, Dwyane Wade was Plan B, and Plan C better be a hell of a backup plan. Otherwise, Knicks fans are going to be rather upset with having to put up with two horrible seasons in a row, only to settle for two mediocre free agents this summer.
Then again, the New York Knicks might be lucky to get anybody. Yahoo Sports is reporting that their sources don’t believe that the Knicks will sign anyone of the major free agents this summer. That would mean that big time names like Joe Johnson, Amare Stoudemire, Chris Bosh and Dirk Nowitzki would play a real life game of keep-away with the city of New York.
So where does that leave the Knicks? What do they do now? Can they possibly enter the 2010-2011 NBA season with no one of significance on their roster and expect anything but utter anarchy in Madison Square Garden if the franchise can’t win at least 50 games this season?
The short answer to that is: no!
However, we’re about more than short answers; we are about solving the whole enchilada. And while the New York Knicks free agent hopes seem to be all but dashed with every passing report leading up to the July 1st free agency premiere, the Knicks do have at least one option that I really, really like going forward.
Rudy Gay of the Memphis Grizzlies (yes, they are still in the NBA) appears to be on his way out of Memphis. The Grizzlies probably can’t afford to keep Rudy Gay after this season—if they can even keep him now. Gay will be an unrestricted free agent, and this year, which means the Grizzlies can match any offer teams send his way. Don’t expect the New York Knicks or any other team to go after Gay all that strongly. The perception is that there is no way that the Grizzlies can afford to keep him on the books with Zach Randolph on the roster, and thus trading Gay this year is a strong possibility for the Grizzlies if they can’t sign him to anything but the mandatory 1-year tender. However, should another team step in and bid for Gay’s service, the Grizzlies could match that price; thereby, locking Gay up for at least the next couple of years at an extremely discounted price.
But if things go as planned (recognizing how rarely that happens), Gay will sign a 1-year tender, and will be a free agent this time next summer. The Grizzlies won’t want to give Gay up for nothing, so they might be inclined to trade him the very second they are forced to into a one-year contract with Gay.
Enter the New York Knicks.
I think the New York Knicks should definitely go after Rudy Gay. Not because he’s the next LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, or even the Dwyane Wade from “A Different World.” However, he does have a ton of potential, and even though the New York Knicks are way past the point of being able to wait on potential, and I would much rather see them give the franchise (albeit, temporarily) to Rudy Gay, who can score on a consistent basis and play quality basketball on the defensive end as well.
Would the arrival of Gay turn into a 50-win season? Of course not! But he would give the Knicks hope, and let’s face it; without LeBron James or Dwyane Wade, that’s all the Knicks have, isn’t it? I hate to be the bearer of bad news (in a chorus of many), but the Knicks don’t have many other options—well, except for this one more, which can also be acquired in conjunction with a trade for Rudy Gay.
Eddy Curry’s contract is coming off the books in 2011, making him a very interesting trade-bait player all summer long. While nobody is going to seriously consider giving the New York Knicks a quality player for Curry’s contract alone, somebody in desperate need of cap-relief might take Curry off the Knicks hands if the Knicks give up a good player. Which team fits this mold?
How about the New Orleans Hornets?
The Hornets have reportedly shopped their star point guard around like a crackhead at a fleakmarket. The Hornets owner apparently wants to make sure his team remains under the cap, and they can’t do that if Paul is in their long-time future plans. The Knicks could send the Hornets, Danillo Gallinari and Eddy Curry in exchange for Chris Paul. Now, I know what you’re saying, why would the Hornets take part in that lopsided trade? Well, of course it has everything to do with cap relief. Trading for Curry will give the Hornets cap space at the end of 2011, and they already have a nice point guard in Darren Collinson, who was more than serviceable in 2010.
At this point, where would this leave the Knicks?
Well, they would have Chris Paul and Rudy Gay on their squad, teamed up with the likes of Wilson Chandler. This doesn’t make the Knicks a great team, but it could give the Knicks a bona fide shot at the NBA Playoffs, and the Knicks, like it or not, won’t burn MSQ in effigy if they can at least have a playoff team next season.
“Settling” for Paul and Gay would also leave the Knicks with the room to sign a max-contract free agent in 2011. While the 2011 class isn’t the meat market it is this summer, the Knicks would have the opportunity to go after Carmelo Anthony, Caron Butler, Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Kevin Durant (Durant and Horford will be restricted free agents in 2011).
Once again, when it comes to free agency, there is no telling where each player will land, as perfectly exampled by the bold statements that LeBron James is headed to this team or that team. That being, said it would be great if the Knicks came through and got a free agent the city actually wanted. However, if they can’t do it, a nice thank you, a price reduction and one heck of a Plan B, C, D and E is always we really need. So come through for us Walsh, because it sounds like you are going to have some explaining to do over the next several days.
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