New York Knicks fans rejoice!
The 2015 offseason is coming, and it’s coming with a ton of presents for you!
What kind of presents?
Well, 2015 is a time where the team could (1) get rid of Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani, Tim Hardaway Jr, Iman Shumpert and Shane Larkin (assuming J. R. Smith exercises his player option. If he doesn’t it means the Knicks could move him before the trade deadline *cue to the Knicks fan base hoping they do*); and, (2) have only $31.97 million spread across Carmelo Anthony, Pablo Prigioni and Jose Calderon.
Mostly made out of Carmelo at $22.87 million, but that’s a good thing.
With a lot of cap space and a chance to build around Carmelo Anthony, one of the league’s purest scorers, and Jose Calderon, a solid point guard, the storied Knicks have a chance to force their way into the free-agent market in a way they’ve not been able to in a long time.
Here’s what the 2015 top free agents look like: (note: I’m not looking at players on team or player options).
1. Rajon Rondo
At age 29 (I know he’s 28 but remember we’re in the future), Rondo is a superb athlete.
Coming into the league as a 20-year-old kid from Louisville, Ky., Rondo has evolved into one of the league’s most gifted point guards in the league.
He was once praised by Boston Sport Media’s Bruce Allen as “the closest thing the Celtics have ever had to Larry Bird…” (h/t Boston Sports Media Watch). Of course, as everything, take it with a grain of salt. A huge one.
He’s battled against the top point guards in the league and succeeded. He conquered five-time NBA champion Derek Fisher in the 2008 Finals. He even had seven steals in the Finals clincher against a Lakers team that featured Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom.
Perfect fit to take on Calderon’s place in the starting lineup. Calderon could give the Knicks some unprecedented depth at point guard coming off the bench.
Once Amar’e’s gone, Carmelo, at 6’8″, will automatically turn into the team’s best chance at a rebound and paint protection.
So they do need size and a 27-year-old big man with great athleticism is just what the doctor ordered for the Knicks.
3. Ricky Rubio
Not a great shooter since he can get in bad slumps from time to time. He was a 28 percent shooter from mid-range in the 2013-14 season … yuck.
Still, he’s a point guard that averages about 8.1 career assists per game. That’s one assist per game less than point god Chris Paul averages. Mind-blowing.
Even if his salary gets bumped, he’d be taking about $11 million per year from the Knicks’ $32 million cap space.
4. Kevin Love
Even if the Knicks have Carmelo they need another shooter to spread the floor.
Who better than a .457/.362/.815 career shooting forward-center who’s just reaching the peak of his powers? He’s never been even to the playoffs and he wants out of Minnesota. (Past note: the Timberwolves have been adamant in keeping him in an effort to catch some breaks in the 2014-15 season and convince him to stay. In the super loaded Western Conference any team can rise or fall. Look at the 2013-14 Portland Trail Blazers).
He’s the only one on the list that has a player option. Why? Because he’s the only one that, barring a trade in the 2014 offseason, would DEFINITELY use it.
Who are we kidding, they’re untouchable.
The sun’s willing to shine all over the Big Apple. Will the Knicks be able to contain their irreparable need to keep throwing money at their problems? Or will they learn from their mistakes?
Yes Amar’e and Bargnani, I’m talking about you.