The New York Knicks: Many Questions w/o Answers
As we move into a NBA post lockout world each team has many questions to be addressed. The New York Knicks are no different. Faced with questions revolving around health of current players, potential blockbuster trades, and a new collective bargaining agreement the Knicks have a lot on their plate. A look at five issues surrounding the Knicks, and in one case: the league as a whole.
THE HEALTH OF AMAR’E STOUDEMIRE
Last year Amar’e averaged 36.8 minutes and (mostly) remained healthy for the Knicks. Twice previously in his career, Stoudemire has averaged 36.8 minutes, in those seasons he played 53 and 55 games. If Knicks continue to expect their big man to log minutes like last year they can expect him to begin missing more games.
The fact is that Mr. Billups has not regressed much up to this point, but it’s slowly coming. Last year he averaged 16.8 points and 5.4 assists. Given the rumors around Chris Paul you have to wonder what New York has in store for Chauncey. How much does he have left in his tank? Present day Billups appears to have a few years left playing somewhere between a capable (and veteran savvy) point guard and an elite 6th man. Question is whether Billups wants to continue playing heavy minutes at the point or is willing to shift to a lead depth player, capable of providing energy off the bench?
Last year Carmelo averaged 25.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.9 assists. Anthony continues with these numbers and stat fanatics will be happy. Begin to show leadership and take control of the team and a legion of fans will be ecstatic.
As far as the Knicks and off-season discussions go, Chris Paul is often involved. Rumor has it both sides would like to create another “big 3” and would prefer this occurs sooner (via trade) than later (via free agency). The former will be difficult given the lack of trade assets currently owned by the Knicks. Essentially the Knicks have nothing to offer.
Maybe they think out of the box. A few trade proposals for Chris Paul: 1. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, next year will be his last year as mayor of New York. He turned Times Square into Disneyland, maybe Bourbon Street is next. 2. The Mets + cash to even the trade. 3. Regis Philbin, plus New Orleans will include cash to make salaries match. 4. The Brooklyn Bridge.
THE LUXURY TAX
The new CBA incrementally punishes teams as they spend over the luxury tax amount. Should the Knicks decide to go the “big 3” route AND pay good role players to surround their stars they will enter a major luxury tax bracket that could push salaries (+ tax) well over 100 million dollars. How the Knicks sign players will also determine the success of the new CBA. Should the Knicks decide to spend, spend, spend they will create a divide of spenders and non-spenders. The Knicks will be the Yankees of the NBA. If this occurs, increased spending should provide more revenue sharing for the other teams. If the Knicks decide NOT to go deep into the luxury tax penalty this would be a win for those hoping to create more of a level playing field in the NBA. There are Pros and Cons to each side. Having an “Evil Empire” in the NBA has a nice sound to it (although I think the Miami Heat may already have this trademarked), but at the same time a level playing field seems to work pretty well for the NFL. To be continued....
By: David. S. Grant
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