It's funny to think that of all the machinations in the New York Knicks' rebuild that began back in 2008, the one with the biggest impact could very well have been when the club picked up Jeremy Lin off of waivers. The Knicks made moves to clear cap space by forfeiting picks, put on a full-court press for 2010 free agents, engaged in a months-long negotiating session to land Carmelo Anthony and shocked the world by chasing and landing Tyson Chandler. Yet the team finally turned around when the front office grabbed an undrafted second-year Ivy League guard. Sports are weird.
Because the Knicks are now set at every position -- albeit with some deficiencies -- they aren't leading the NBA trade rumor mill at this point. Had it not been for Lin, you could expect "Steve Nash to the Knicks" to be on everyone's lips. Sorry, Steve. Jeremy's taken your spot.
There have been immodest suggestions that the Knicks could still want Dwight Howard, despite landing Chandler and appearing to be on the upswing. The rumored package has been Anthony and Chandler, which might be appealing to the Magic if a full rebuild was to be avoided. Dropping 'Melo at this point would leave New York without a signature wing; for all of the greatness of Howard and Lin, neither is exactly a 30-point threat most nights.
One more defender could be a target, too; Amar'e Stoudemire is a clear minus on that end of the floor, and 'Melo is far inferior to Chandler's 2011 Finals partner Shawn Marion. Chandler defending the paint against the Heat without Marion or Jason Kidd -- and with 'Melo and Landry Fields or J.R. Smith in their places -- seems problematic.
The Knicks do not have their 2012 first-round pick to use, and cannot trade their 2013 pick on account of having traded their 2014 pick to the Nuggets.
According to ShamSports.com and adjusting for the recently signed Smith, the Knicks have a salary figure of $63 million, over the league's cap. The Knicks are actually at the cap for next season before accounting for Smith or Lin and project to flirt with the luxury tax when it becomes more punitive in 2013-14.