The New York Knicks are continuing to find their names in basketball news, beginning with former Chicago Bulls point guard and Phoenix Suns general manager Steve Kerr spurning the franchise to become head coach of the Golden State Warriors.
Newly crowned president Phil Jackson has courted Kerr over the last several weeks, but the lure of Madison Square Garden was not enough to attract him. New York has a roster that was able to garner 54 wins during the 2012-13 NBA season, led by impending free agent Carmelo Anthony, and rounded out by Amar’e Stoudemire, J.R. Smith, and Tyson Chandler. This season was not nearly as productive as last year, as the team only recorded 37 wins, while parting ways with coach Mike Woodson.
Raymond Felton started 65 of the Knicks games this season, and was far from the player that was once one of the league’s solid young guards. At age 29, Felton had his worst statistical year, posting averages of 9.6 points and 5.6 assists per game on 39.5 percent shooting. On top of a sub-par season, Felton is also awaiting trial in June, on two weapons charges that occurred during February of this season. As mentioned, Felton displayed the unique ability of finishing through contact and finding his teammates within the offense. It was only four seasons ago, in his first Knicks stint, that Felton posted a career-high 17 points and nine assists per game. Of course, this was during the Mike D’Antoni era in New York.
It seems as if Phil Jackson is ready to find a more suitable lead guard, as his infamous triangle offense will become a part of the Knicks future. Jackson has reportedly informed Felton that he will be traded. The possible landing spots for Felton are definitely scarce, when observing his situation. A number of teams are already led by younger guards with higher ceilings, such as the Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. One of the best roles, which could prove to be better for Felton, is possibly becoming a reserve guy with a contender. The biggest issue in this possibility is finding one of the better teams to listen to an offer.
A team like the Indiana Pacers, who lack consistency and depth at the point guard spot, could listen to an offer from the Knicks. With Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers facing free agency, even the Miami Heat could explore the option of bringing in Felton to an ideal core, pending their “Big Three” return. Maybe the Knicks can even see if the Washington Wizards are looking for another veteran, if Andre Miller decides to retire. These scenarios would only be ideal, if Felton is motivated, physically prepared, and can have the coach and team provide him the confidence he needs to be serviceable. His value to a team is relatively low at this point, but in the right system, Felton may prove to be an interesting piece to a team next season.