The New York Knicks, like the Chicago Bulls, came into the playoffs with high expectations, but left as a major disappointment.
After an optimistic start to the season, especially heading into the playoffs, the Knicks seemed to be on the right track to be effective in the post season.
Yet as the injuries piled up, the Knicks quickly learned how important depth is on their roster, especially at the shooting guard position.
In addition to losing Jeremy Lin to a knee injury in the regular season, Knicks saw Iman Shumpert, their former first-round pick, go down in the playoffs. The loss of Shumpert, one of the team's top defenders, virtually knocked the Knicks out of contention.
If the Knicks were to make an early Christmas list, top free agents like Steve Nash, Jason Terry, O.J. Mayo, and Ray Allen would be at the top.
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Although the money is not available to sign these players with the contracts they will demand, the city of New York can sometimes be enticing enough to end a career, or even revive one.
The Knicks are a great franchise and I live in New York City, so I'd definitely consider them if they were interested, Nash said. I want to wait and see what's actually on the table. I'm open and excited.
If the Knicks want to create cap space to sign these potential free agents, they need to look to trade Amar'e Stoudemire or Carmelo Anthony, who simply do not fit together.
Former 11-time champion head coach Phil Jackson recently went on the record to criticize the pairing of these two players.
They don't fit together well. Amar'e doesn't fit well with Carmelo. Stoudemire's a really good player. But he's got to play in a certain system and a way, Jackson said.
Carmelo has to be a better passer. And the ball can't stop every time it hits his hands. They need to have someone come in that can kind of blend that group together.
While it's clear that the Knicks are a much better team this season than what they were two years ago, the front office needs to make some crucial decisions to bring this team to the next level.
They have to systematically change their style of play on the court, or look to trade one of their All-Stars to bring in cheaper, more versatile players.
The rest of the league is not waiting around for New York to make a move; so there should be no period of hesitation for the Knicks.