The New York Knicks were one of the biggest disasters in the NBA this past season. One year after winning 54 games and reaching the second round of the postseason, the Knicks won just 37 games and became a running joke around the league. The poor season led to the firing of coach Mike Woodson, who has been replaced by Derek Fisher.
The rough year also has star Carmelo Anthony possibly looking to get out of town. Anthony has opted out of his contract, and his decision will shape the Knicks' future for years to come. New York can offer Anthony the most money, but he wants to play for a winner, and he may be willing to take less to play for a team more ready to win. The 30-year-old could also take less in order to give the Knicks a better chance at improving going forward.
New president Phil Jackson has his hands full, regardless of Anthony's decision. New York has a bunch of bad money on the books and no draft selections, although attempts are being made to acquire a pick or two. The Knicks could gain some assets if they decide to move Anthony in a sign-and-trade deal, so that could be a nice start to a non-Melo future if things play out that way.
If Anthony does re-sign, the time for major improvement will come in 2015, when much of the bad money comes off the Knicks' cap sheet.
SF: Carmelo Anthony (UFA)
The Knicks need a lot of help, even if Anthony decides to stay. We can start at point guard, where Raymond Felton struggled last season. In addition to struggling on the court, Felton had some issues off of it, getting arrested on a gun charge.
New York could also use some more shooting to surround Anthony. J.R. Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr. were both solid last year, but both players were a bit erratic. Iman Shumpert struggled with his shooting, and Andrea Bargnani was an absolute disaster.
The frontcourt clearly needs improvement, as well. Bargnani is both bad and coming off an injury, and Amare Stoudemire's knees can't be trusted. Tyson Chandler can still be effective, but he's 31 and had injury issues last year, as well. So yeah, a ton of help is needed.
The Knicks don't have many avenues to significantly improve the roster this season. New York is trying to acquire draft picks, and Shumpert is once again being dangled in trade talks. If the Knicks can get into the first round, the target is said to be P.J. Hairston, who would provide more shooting and scoring. However, losing Shumpert would deliver a blow to the perimeter defense.
New York could also try to buy a draft pick, but it might not have enough cash to get into the first round. That's because the Knicks gave the Toronto Raptors $1.4 million in the Bargnani trade, leaving them with just $1.8 million to offer for a pick.
In free agency, the Knicks will likely only have the mini mid-level exception and minimums to offer. Marc Berman of the New York Post reported that San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills could be a target to help the issues at point guard. New York could have the full mid-level exception at its disposal if Anthony bolts or if enough other salary is dumped.