Mar 21, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during the first quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Knicks defeated the Sixers 93-92. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Summer Nightmare: The New York Knicks

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The 2013-14 NBA season came and went, the Finals are upon us, and the Knicks missed the playoffs for the seventh time in the last decade. The previous sentence doesn’t amount to the massive train wreck they’ve been for the better part of the last 10 years.

With no picks in the upcoming draft, no coach, and Melodrama 2.0 rearing its ugly head, this summer’s not looking any better.

The draft pick situation, a comedic situation indeed

  • 2014 first-round pick to Orlando.
  • 2014 second-round pick to Houston.
  • 2015 second-round pick to Houston.
  • 2016 first-round pick, Denver has right to swap.
  • 2016 first-round less favorable pick to Toronto.
  • 2016 second-round pick to Sacramento (protected 31-37).
  • 2017 second-round pick to Toronto.

So yeah, not a lot of draft picks in the next four years.

The no-coach dilemma

In a desperate move to sway Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks handed the keys of the basketball operations machine to Phil Jackson. The zen master came to town and the future started looking better for them. After a disappointing season where they had to let Mike Woodson go, a lot of names have been thrown around for the position but no clear candidate’s come forward. Who wouldn’t want to coach under the 11-time NBA champion?

Names like Steve Kerr started coming up just before he dropped the New York job (and drama) by taking over Mark Jackson in Golden State for a chance to coach one of the stronger and younger teams in the West. The pressure is far from what he’d have in New York, something he definitely considered on his first year as a coach. Rick Fox, Mark Jackson, Brian Shaw, and Derek Fisher are some other names linked to the opening.

Derek Fisher is looking like Jackson’s first choice (of course, now that Steve Kerr chose the Warriors) and sources say the pair’s meeting soon to discuss the possibility of Fisher coaching under him. Derek Fisher was an active player in the league until Saturday so, as Phil Jackson knows, no one could talk to him directly about any positions because of the NBA’s tampering policies.

MeloDrama 2.0

Knicks’ star Carmelo Anthony’s able to opt-out of his contract this summer. It’s not clear if he will but rest assured this move would be another devastating blow for the Knicks. It’s been known that Phil Jackson has courted Melo and asked him to consider delaying free agency until 2015 but Melo’s decision is still unknown.

Influenced by his draft class colleague LeBron James‘ newest, and fourth straight, trip to the NBA Finals, he’s been adamant in stating that his decision’s based strictly on improving his winning chances. But with the team having $91 million in salaries committed for next season, the possibilities of adding a piece, any piece, and multiplying Melo’s chances of winning, are slim. He has the opportunity to improve his winning chances in a heart beat by playing the field and landing somewhere like Chicago or Houston.

On the upside, the Knicks have got only $12 million committed for the 2015-16 season so they should be OK if they convince Anthony on spending his 12th and 13th seasons in rebuilding mode.

It’s been 15 years since the Knicks got to The Finals the last time. They’ve won one playoff series since the year 2000. The past’s been rough to them, and the future’s not looking any brighter.

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Tags: Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks

  • tdh

    Combine this with this article: http://hoopshabit.com/2014/06/04/phil-jackson-carmelo-anthony-page/ which is the entire fact Jackson and Melo seem to be hearing each other, but not really paying attention to the other’s goals….

    Melo said he will opt out all season, so Jackson says he hopes Melo will opt-in for the team.

    Melo said he does not want to hear 2015, but how he can win next year. Jackson says hold on until 2015 when we can pair you with others.

    Every analyst says NYK best offering to Melo is the money option up to $129M over 5-years, giving Melo $30M reasons to be patient. Jackson says he hopes Melo will be true to his word about taking a discount to be on a contending team which makes all other options possibly similar in financial terms.

    Melo says he would be OK with Mark Jackson as Coach. Phil Jackson tells Melo he signed Steve Kerr based on a verbal agreement at their meeting, only to retract that after Kerr formally signs with Golden State. Jackson looking foolish in not getting his friend and former player with no coaching experience at all, but telling Melo he will work with him to get the guys they want in 2015. How do you get desirable players to come to the NYK that you don’t have friendship with, when you can’t get a guy with no coaching experience to be the coach (that is your friend)? Not exactly a confidence building situation.

    If Phil Jackson keeps Carmelo in NYK without spending the money for paying him more than any other team, then he truly pulled a Jedi Mind Trick on all of us. I don’t get him publicly being contrary on everything Melo wants from the NYK organization and yet holding out hope that Melo will stay. I don’t think Phil is stupid either, so I get the impression that Jackson wants Melo to leave to start fresh and with a S&T facilitated by NYK they can get back a bunch of assets hopefully helping him rebuild from scratch. I don’t think he would walk away if Melo wanted to stay for $15M since he can build around that, but at $20M or more Jackson does not seem to be interested.

    If he does trade, CHI seems like the team he is likely to get one of the better deals at this point since Melo must approve the destination and if he decides he is leaving for certain then the organization loses much of their leverage. It might already have been discussed that NYK will S&T him if he does not opt-in or agree in free agency to return for $15M range. This could be the reason for the disconnect between Jackson and Melo. CHI has Two first round picks and one 2nd rounder in this draft + all of their future picks + a protected first from SAC which turns to a 2nd round pick in 2017 if not redeemable sooner by SAC falling outside a top 12/10 pick + Two 2nd round picks from the Trail Blazzers in 2015 and 2016. Some combination of assets could be had since CHI has extra picks and is a destination that Melo has verbally been favorable about. CHI also has some young players and the rights to Nikola Mirotic which is one of the best pro-basketball players not in the NBA. Golden State has young players and might have a package, but not many picks to deal. They have lost a number of picks in other transactions and are limited in what else they can trade (alternating first round picks rule). HOU has some extra picks in 2015 2nd round and their own first rounders mostly. It is not as many picks as CHI, but plausible. Melo could opt to go to a team like LAL or BOS which have high picks to offer NYK right away, but Melo would be in rebuilding mode in most of those locations (like NY). The odds of a CHI or HOU deal are the highest, possibly improving in probability over Melo staying at this point. If he opts out officially by the 23rd as he said he would do, it is likely one of those two destinations unless GS throws in a talented star to return to NY which is unlikely.