Over the last few months, especially since the firing of head coach Derek Fisher, the news has been filled with the next step for the New York Knicks to turn the franchise around – trades.
There were rumors of Carmelo Anthony leaving, Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook trades, and trades in the hunt for numerous point guards, including Jeff Teague. The trade deadline was Thursday, February 18…yesterday.
Despite all of the rumors and trade talk, the Knicks did the unexpected – nothing.
The rumors were that the front office planned to bring in a stud player that could give the Knicks a chance at reaching the post-season in part of a process to finish this season on a high note. After losing nine of the last ten games, it seemed as though the Knicks next big move would be a trade, a trade for a player to get them to the next level. Honestly, except for Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, news spread fast that anyone could potentially be on the trading block in order to bring in a player to help make one last ditch effort for a top eight seed in the Eastern Conference.
The trade deadline was yesterday at 3 p.m. and the Knicks oddly enough missed it. They still have an open roster spot that allows them to sign a player. However it seems as though Knicks President, Phil Jackson, decided that the current team he picked with the coaches was enough to finish the season and that they would wait until draft night or free agency.
Looking at trade leverage, the Knicks did not have a first-round pick to offer for the next few years. Reports indicate the Knicks were also hesitant to add a player that was not better than one they already have in case he was unable to transition into the triangle offense.
Heavy rumors of trading point guard Jose Calderon and forward Kyle O’Quinn were spreading through the news. By getting rid of their contracts that would have freed up $18 million in cap space to try to get an elite point guard such as Rajon Rondo or Mike Conley.
They also targeted one of Rambis’ former players, the Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio, but his contract extends to 2019 and he has been injury bitten recently.
Many still question how happy Carmelo Anthony is with his team and Phil Jackson’s plan. Anthony has issued a no-trade clause showing that he has no plans of going anywhere so it will be interesting to see if he remains patient through this tough, losing period while the front office is trying to turn the organization around. After signing a five-year, $124 million contract it is safe to say that Melo plans on sticking around for awhile.
Although the Knicks missed the opportunity to do a mid-season trade, this summer they will be looking to make a lot of adjustments. Unlike the Knicks, other Eastern Conference competition was active during the trade period to help in their last effort to clinch a playoff position including the Pistons, Hornets, and Magic.
The focus right now is getting each player to focus on the team and feeling secure in their role. Trade rumors may put them on edge if they are unsure of their future in New York. GM Steve Mills and Phil Jackson are continuing to shop around for talent to add to the program, but the Knicks will keep on fighting for a post season spot.
Jackson still has his eye on a shooting guard and/or point guard to bring in during the summer. In the meantime, the Knicks are just five games out of a playoff spot and have 27 games left to play. Anything is possible.