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What should Phil Jackson’s offseason priority be?
Chris Celletti - The first thing Phil needs to figure out is what’s going on with Carmelo Anthony. We’ve discussed how it seems as though Phil’s drawn a line in the sand, stating that Carmelo can take less to help the Knicks build a winner, and since other stars around the league have set this precedent, he should follow. What will be most interesting, and most telling as to how much of a culture change Jackson has brought with him, will be to see if Jackson holds true to his word. If Melo refuses to stay AND take less than the max, then Jackson has to let him walk. The longterm health and viability of the team will be compromised if Melo insists on the max and Phil caves. It will also make Phil look a bit foolish, which is why I don’t think it will happen. But how the Knicks go about doing business with Melo is priority no. 1 in this offseason. Heck, it could decide the fate of the franchise moving forward.
Kevin Smith - There’s a laundry list of duties for Jackson to get to, but in my opinion, his first order of business should be to try and get into this year’s draft. Expecting a pick in return for Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire, or J.R. Smith is unrealistic, but the Knicks can still buy their way into the end of the first round. The NBA allows teams to purchase picks from others who don’t want to guarantee a roster spot to their selection, which is a must-do with your first round pick. It’s too early to know exactly who to target, but Jackson has emphasized that he wants to sign players on contracts of value, and the best way to do this is with late draft picks. The Knicks have had some great post-lottery success of late, plucking Iman Shumpert off the board with the 17th overall pick and Tim Hardaway Jr. with the 24th, and while they’re not likely to get somebody of that caliber in the late-20’s, they’ll never know if they don’t take the chance. Buying your way into the end of the first round is a low-risk, high-reward gamble, and Dolan should have no problem peeling off a couple million to take the chance.
Aaron Jacobs - With the front court of the Knicks due to take up a majority of the cap room, the Knicks will once again be limited in the moved they can make next season, or are they? If you think about it Andrea Bargnani, Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudemire are all expiring contracts that could be valuable to a playoff team next season, since all of those players showed at times they can be serviceable to a team in need, problem is it never came all together for the Knicks this year. If Phil Jackson can move a couple of these hefty contracts for some young talent that would be a great jumping off point to his Knicks front office gig.
Priority number one should be bringing back Carmelo Anthony, who seems open to running the triangle offense and seems to admire Phil Jackson’s basketball prowess. Next on his list should be trying to convince James Dolan to trade for a mid-to-late first-round draft pick in this years draft, given the expiring deals on the roster this shouldn’t be as difficult as you might think. Last will be figuring out which pieces on the roster can fit with a triangle offense, which in my opinion would mean no more small ball and a new starting point guard, if attainable.
Max Marcilla - This upcoming offseason may be a quiet one for the Knicks, and not just for “New York standards.” With players such as Andrea Bargnani and Amar’e Stoudemire limiting the Knicks’ cap space, the pursuit of free agents should be restricted. The only way New York would have actual spending money is if Carmelo Anthony walks to go to another team, but the Knicks’ number one priority should be to re-sign the 7x NBA All-Star.
Granted, Anthony has a lot of flaws in his game, including his sometime lackadaisical defense, to his reputation as a selfish scorer. However, despite a lot of speculation, Anthony can be on a winning team when given the right coach, the right teammate, and in the right system. Phil Jackson knows this, and has stated that he can work with Melo to help him reach another level in his game, which translates to winning basketball in New York.
What do you think Phil’s number one priority should be? Let us know in the comments section below!
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