Where are the Knicks headed? This past season was a wild roller-coaster ride. It started in the summer when we all “Witnessed” LeBron James choose Miami over all the other teams he had been flirting with. Amar’e Stoudemire signed with the Knicks days before the “Decision”, and that was the best news Knicks’ fans have had in years. Donnie Walsh didn’t get the second “big” piece he was looking for, but with trades (David Lee sign and trade to the Warriors for Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf and Kelenna Azubuike), smart free agent signings (Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, and Shawne Williams among others), and drafting a bona fide steal in Landry Fields, Walsh acquired the perfect pieces to surround Amar’e Stoudemire. Near the trade deadline New York traded Wilson Chandler (last person I wanted to see traded other than Amar’e), Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov to finally acquire the second big piece of the puzzle in Carmelo Anthony (in the trade NY acquired Chauncey Billups too). The season was up and down, but eventually ended in an above .500 record (42-40, the best record since the 2000-01 season) and a playoff berth.
After observing huge improvement this past season, yet seeing Donnie Walsh on his way out, I have huge fears that NY can fall back into the terrible patterns that have haunted this franchise for the last decade. Even in recent memory the Knicks organization still baffles me with odd maneuvers. Past examples are the Knicks organization’s affection for the beloved Italian rooster, Danilo Gallinari. In his second season I think he got way too many minutes, took too many bad shots, and for some reason Mike D’antoni granted the rooster’s wish to guard the best player on the court, every night, whether it was a point guard, shooting guard, or forward. This is especially baffling because he played terrible defense, always fouled in the worst situations, and often left his man to help in the wrong spots, and just never contested shots properly. Offensively he could shoot when open and set, but he never seemed to take the best shot for himself. He didn’t pass as often as he should’ve, and he turned the ball over too much. Even more confusing was the re-acquisition of Jared Jeffries. I literally cringe every time he steps on the court for the team I’m rooting for. He plays average defense at best, and stating that he is completely limited offensively would be the understatement of the year. The latest two first round pick draft picks have been poor choices, not only talent wise, but for what the team needed position wise as well (Danilo Gallinari and Jordan Hill). What the future holds without Donnie Walsh leaves us hanging in the air. Who is going to be named the new Knicks GM? Alan Houston is seemingly out of the picture with the possibility of coaching a D-league team associated with the Knicks. Isaiah Thomas hopefully is out of the picture, but with James Dolan, who knows? We are still in the dark about who is going to be making the decisions and how these decisions will affect the Knicks. Will we see regression resembling the past, or more optimistically progression, much like we have seen this past season? If this wasn’t enough, the Knicks now also have the lockout negotiations to be concerned with (no free agents can be signed, and after the trade to Denver, the Knicks have holes to fill). There doesn’t seem to be many good scenarios to look forward to if a frugal hard cap is emplaced. More importantly, will we have a bright mind up to the challenge when the lockout is lifted and business proceeds? It’s a shame Donnie Walsh stepped down, I personally would have liked to see how Walsh’s strategy would have played out.