When the 2013-2014 NBA Season began, New York Knicks fans were hopeful. After a 54-28 season that saw then win the Atlantic Division a year ago, fans of the team had a reason to be optimistic. With the addition of Andrea Bargnani, combined with Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith coming off of the best seasons of their career, there was good reason to be. Though I didn’t foresee the Knicks reaching the heights of a year ago, I certainly didn’t predict the disappointment that has been this season. Bargnani didn’t seem to fit with the team as well as one of the pieces he was traded for, Steve Novak, Smith began the season suspended for five games because of drug use and had off-season surgery, and Carmelo has seemed to wear down as the season continued because of heavy minutes. Unfortunately for Knicks fans, the disappointment could get worse.
With the New York Knicks unlikely to make the playoffs (even if the Knicks win their remaining four games, (which is doubtful as they play the Toronto Raptor twice, the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets) the Atlanta Hawks need to merely win three of six against NBA bottom feeders (Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtic) to lock in the eighth seed. This leads to the season ending on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, with lots of questions.
Will Carmelo Anthony opt out of his contract and re-sign with the Knicks? Carmelo has said he will opt out, but if he does, will he stay with the Knicks or sign with a team that has other championship pieces in place? It has been rumored that Joakim Noah of the Bulls tried to recruit Melo over All Star Weekend, and we saw how successful players can be in recruiting other players four summers ago, when LeBron James and Chris Bosh took their talents to South Beach to team up with Dwyane Wade. Phil Jackson, who has been President of the New York Knicks for less than a month, must address this situation immediately.
With the New York Knicks trading their first round 2014 NBA Draft pick to the Denver Nuggets in the Carmelo Anthony trade three years ago, hopes were for the team to be competitive and to re-sign Melo to a long-term deal. Now, the Knicks may be without Melo and their pick this summer. If you are a huge Knicks fan you may want to stop reading here, as I will explore the worst-case scenario.
If the first round NBA Draft pick this summer, which isn’t lottery protected, turns into a top-three pick, it could become a future NBA star. In this nightmare scenario, this player would not only play 15 seasons in the NBA, but also make 10 All Star games and torch the Knicks every time he plays at Madison Square Garden. With this predicted to be perhaps the best NBA Draft in over a decade, the chance of more than one perennial NBA All Star is real.
But the biggest blow to the New York Knicks would be Carmelo, the team’s most precious asset, bolting for an Eastern Conference rival. The idea of Melo torching the Knicks at the World’s Most Famous Arena in another uniform has to drive fans nuts, but is also very realistic. Hopefully Melo resigns and the Knicks draft pick is at the back-end of the lottery. That would be the best case scenario. But the worst case scenario is very real, and would make the 2014-2015 season hard to watch.