Several teams looking to secure a playoff spot made deals before the 2014 NBA trade deadline. The New York Knicks, though, stood pat.
New York had been at the center of several trade rumors, but nothing came to fruition. The Knicks were reportedly interested in Rajon Rondo and Kyle Lowry, but they were unable to make an upgrade at point guard. The organization was open to moving Iman Shumpert and Beno Udrih, but both players remain on the roster.
It doesn’t appear like the Knicks ever seriously considered moving Carmelo Anthony. Even though they won’t compete for a title this season and could lose the forward to free agency this summer, the Knicks plan to keep Anthony as their star player.
Much of the Knicks’ future depends on Anthony’s decision in the offseason. He’s already announced that he plans to opt out of the final year of his contract and test the market. New York has the upper hand, with the ability to offer him more money than any other team. A max contract from the Knicks would pay the All-Star $129 million over five years, while the most he could get from another team is just less than $96 million over four seasons.
Anthony has stated that he wants to retire as a Knick, and New York is the favorite to re-sign him. However, if winning a championship is his No.1 goal, the Knicks could be in trouble. In a weak conference, the team is on the outside looking in at the playoffs. Even in an offseason that will feature the best free agent class the league has ever seen, New York doesn’t have much room for improvement.
With or without Anthony, the Knicks won’t be under the salary cap this summer. The only way for the team to add an impact player would be to make a trade. However, the Knicks are lacking in assets that could net them a player who could make a big impact. Shumpert’s value continues to decrease as he suffers injuries and fails to perform. Tim Hardaway Jr. has shown promise, but the Knicks would rather not trade him. New York can’t even trade their 2015 first-round draft pick, since they’ve already dealt their 2016 pick, and NBA teams aren’t allowed to trade first-round picks in consecutive years.
Despite the grim future, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. In the summer of 2015, the Knicks will finally be able to make some major changes. The contracts of Amare Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani and Tyson Chandler, which will total $50 million next year, are set to expire at the end of the 2014-2015 season. The Knick will finally have cap space to go after free agents, which could include the likes of Rondo and Kevin Love. New York will also have the ability to improve with their first-round pick, which they are guaranteed to keep, unless they acquire another one.
In order to re-sign Anthony, the Knicks will have to hope that the extra money, the prospect of a bright 2015, and the veteran’s loyalty to New York can keep him in the Big Apple. Otherwise, a team with cap space, like the Los Angeles Lakers, could steal away the Knicks’ best player since Patrick Ewing. Anthony has played in the NBA for over a decade without reaching the NBA Finals, and the current New York roster won’t be there any time soon.
Through 54 games, the Knicks are 12 games under .500 and 3.5 games out of the playoffs. Anthony has never missed the postseason in his 11-year career.