The New York Knicks are entering a new era, having lost and added some key pieces just a few weeks after winning their first playoff game in more than a decade.
The question that remains is: just how good will the new New York Knicks be? It remains to be seen, but it would be nearly impossible to make a convincing case that they're worse off today than they were this time last year.
First of all, they have a better, more respected and likable coach. During his short time at the helm in Madison Square Garden, Mike D'Antoni caused controversies by not getting along with Carmelo Anthony, refusing to teach defense and hustle, and generally failing as a head coach.
Mike Woodson, on the other hand, commands the respect of his players, and he led the Knicks to a remarkable turnaround at the end of the 2011-2012 season, culminating in their first playoff win in years.
And the Knicks are still stocked with superstars, in particular scoring machines Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. Whatever the pair have been able to do (and not do) in their first year will only be built upon this off-season, and both players seem to be healthy.
Plus there's defensive monster and leader Tyson Chandler, who seemed to whip the Knicks into shape when he came arrived on 34th Street fresh off winning a NBA championship with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. And he didn't do too bad in 2012, either, winning the Defensive Player of the Year award as a Knick.
And as for the other slots on the roster, they've only been strengthened. Sharp-shooter Steve Novak -- who became a hometown hero as a result of his three-draining acumen -- is coming back. So is J.R. Smith, who had a good run in his partial season as a Knickerbocker.
Jeremy Lin brought Linsanity to New York for just a few hundred thousand bucks last season. His grip on NYC was intense and exciting, but it was short-lived as the new star quickly suffered a season-ending injury after slumping his way through his last few games in a Knicks jersey.
Now he's reportedly gone to the Houston Rockets, allowing the Knicks to jettison an unreliable (and now expensive) question mark, which they filled with Jason Kidd, one of the most solid veteran point guards left in the league.
But Kidd isn't even the most exciting new Knick this year. That would be center Marcus Camby, who already played four years (and an NBA Finals) for New York a decade ago, and will combine with Chandler to create what ESPN described after Camby's reported signing as arguably the best big man one-two punch in the NBA.
It remains to be seen how well this new squad gels. Anthony, Stoudemire and the rest of the Knicks have been slammed since Carmelo arrived for not being able to play well together, but this year will likely be different.
Kidd will bring the offensive leadership, discipline and ability to distribute the ball that have been missing from the squad ever since Chauncey Billups' short tenure in New York ended. Carmelo is happier under Woodson. Chandler is a boss. Camby has been to the Finals with New York.
All the NBA talk around New York since the end of the 2012 season has been about the Brooklyn Nets and all their high-profile negotiations and signings.
But Jay-Z and his Nets had better keep their eye on the powerhouse across the East River. The Knicks have the pieces needed to be a contender this coming season in a way they haven't been for years.