The New York Knicks are an utter disaster. Possibly the worst-run franchise in the NBA, change is needed quickly. It has been 46 years and counting since the Knicks won an NBA championship, and it doesn't look like that will change if things continue how they are. For most people, they haven't seen the Knicks even come close to an NBA championship for nearly half a lifetime. For such a big market in a competitive league, this is unacceptable.
Despite spending billions of dollars on players, they haven't played in an NBA Finals in 20 years. Even a star-studded cast of Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire couldn't do much in the playoffs, and that was as long as seven years ago. They only managed to win one round, and that has been it for the Knicks for two decades.
Luckily, there might be some good news for a franchise that seems to be lacking it. Here is what the Knicks can do to finally break this horrible streak, and become the hottest market in sports once again.
1. Tanking For A Top 5 Pick
The Knicks just need to continue doing what they have been doing for the past few years, which is tanking. Unfortunately, the front office decided to stack the roster with some win-now players in a scheme that simply doesn't fit. Marcus Morris and Taj Gibson should play for teams that are ready to win now, while Julius Randle and Kevin Knox need some more time to develop. It is time to give up the season, play the young guys, and start clearing unnecessary cap space.
The Knicks can land a top pick in next year's draft, and possibly grab a guy like LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman, or Anthony Edwards. A guy like that would finally bring some young star power to a team craving cornerstone players. The idea is to create a legitimate Big 3 with R.J. Barrett, Julius Randle, and one of those three young studs. That is a team full of young star power that will one day prosper into a great core.
The Knicks must forego any situation where they are out of the bottom of the conference, and focus their efforts on playing all the young guys to see if they are worthy of keeping in the long run or not.
Landing the top 5 pick will be the essence of the Knicks' future. Just like they drafted Kristaps Porzingis, they need to draft a similar talent. Giving up Porzingis for the hopes of Kyrie and Durant was one of the most foolish moves in recent memory. He was on a rookie contract and has a completely unique skill set for a big man who can play both the power forward and center position. Even if he did request a trade, the Knicks front office should have done anything and everything to keep him.
Now, they must find the next prospect in the draft. By tanking, they will position themselves to make this happen. A top-five pick will add to their collection of very exciting talent in R.J. Barrett. Barrett was part of the Duke powerhouse last season and was one of the most highly sought after prospects in last year's draft. Grabbing a guy like Edwards or Wiseman would just make the Knicks that much better.
Even LaMelo Ball can be the point guard for the future since the Knicks seem to have given up on both Dennis Smith Jr and Frank Ntilikina.
Ball is certainly a cornerstone talent, and he would hold the spot down for the Knicks' future for many years to come.
2. Short-term Contract Until 2021 Summer
This idea is simple, the Knicks need to clean cap space. The Knicks used to be one of the most popular franchises in sports, but this has diminished greatly over the team's poor run of form over the last decade at the least. The Knicks are simply not going anywhere this season, and they must start planning for the future. The best way to do that is to look at their current roster.
The Knicks need to start trading for and acquiring short-term contracts that will expire in the next one or two years. The Knicks need to clean their salary cap of all the players who will not end up helping the team in the long-run, and there are quite a few of them on the roster. Rather than waiting on unimpressive young players or ineffective role players, they should clean the house and start moving players for temporary contracts. The Knicks seem to be beating around the bush with guys like Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr who will never become the stars the Knicks hope they will. Rather, move them and many more for short-term contracts to start preparing for the future.
Following the Lakers template of one-year contracts should be the target since the Lakers were able to clear space for the trade of Anthony Davis. Even though the Knicks might not trade for a superstar like Anthony Davis this season, they can start doing the same in the hopes of attracting or acquiring similar star talent now and in the following few seasons. The Knicks need to completely forget about this season and focus on doing the right thing: clearing cap space.
3. Land Hustler In 2020 Summer
In the coming summer, the Knicks need to land the right kind of players. If they have started the rebuild the right way, they might be able to land hustlers and hard-nosed players to help the team win.
The Knicks always look lackadaisical, lazy, and unmotivated. To change this, they need the right type of players. The type of players who will hustle each and every play and bleed for the franchise. While these guys aren't easy to come by, there are a few out there right now who might be willing to pay for the Knicks in their careers. These guys include Marcus Smart, Patrick Beverley, Jrue Holiday, T.J. Warren, and Robert Covington.
If the Knicks want to get back in contention, they need to start focusing on the right kind of players and especially guys who can contribute to team culture and winning success.
Currently, only Taj Gibson and Marcus Morris resemble any bit of true hustle and energy that the Knicks need. Unfortunately, Gibson is getting up in age and is not as effective as he used to be. Morris also seems to have just joined for the money, and hoping for a longer-term deal down the road. The Knicks simply do not want to overpay for a player like Morris and they should start to look elsewhere for hustle and energy guys.
Jrue Holiday would be a perfect player for them since he plays both ends of the floor at a high level and can play both guard positions. Holiday is also a borderline All-Star player who can give the Knicks some more shooting, playmaking, and great defense.
Similarly, Robert Covington provides exceptional 3-and-D skills that allows him to fit alongside any star talent. Covington and Holiday can be culture-changers for a team that simply needs level headed players with tremendous skill on both ends of the floor.
4. All-In 2021 Summer
The final piece of the puzzle for the Knicks is focusing on the upcoming 2021 Summer that is stacked with superstar talent. After the Knicks failed on acquiring Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and even Zion Williamson, they were left shocked and confused only to lead to questionable free agency acquisitions including a slew of big men who can't shoot.
The Knicks messed up this summer, but they have an opportunity in the 2021 NBA free agency periods. Notable free agents include superstar Giannis and defensive superstar Andre Drummond. Both of these guys have the ability to uplift a franchise tremendously, and the Knicks need both of them to be legitimate title contenders.
Imagine a team with Giannis and Drummond, and the extraordinary defensive presence they will bring to New York. The Knicks are not known for their defensive efforts, and they should not give up on this part of the game. Grabbing these guys in free agency would change the landscape of the Knicks for a very long time.
Once they have set the foundation for this massive free agency period, the Knicks can begin to sign one or two of these megastars. With short term contracts, a top draft pick, and a competitive culture the Knicks can successfully attract these two guys to their team. Culture is built from within, and the New York Knicks can correct their disastrous team by following the steps necessary in the following two seasons. But they must start now. By making the right moves and focusing on the right direction, the Knicks can be a relevant force in the Eastern Conference once again.