When Donnie Walsh took over the front office of the New York Knicks, we immediately knew that he was building (or really, tearing down) the roster to have plenty of cap room for the 2010 free agent class. The class includes LeBron, but also Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, Amar’e Stoudemire, and maybe even Dirk Nowitzki. The Knicks can add two max contracts, but in doing so have depleted the team of young talent and have no chance of really adding any. They have no first round pick this year, the next, or two years after that. So, will clearing the roster for this summer ultimately be worth it?
First if LeBron cares about winning at all, he is not coming to New York (at least as a Knickerbocker.) The Cavaliers have not done a very good job of putting talent around LeBron, but its much better than what he’ll have in New York. Quite frankly, the same goes for Dwayne Wade. The only way either one of these guys ends up in New York is if they choose to go together. The likelihood of this? Pretty damn unlikely. So cross those two off the list.
Now, Chris Bosh is a really nice player and I do think the Knicks have a chance to sign him. However, is he a franchise player on a championship team? I have my doubts. For one, Bosh is not much of a defender. He is, however, a scoring and rebounding machine and would obviously be a great addition for the Knicks. If Bosh is signed by the Knicks, obviously there would be no need for Amar’e Stoudemire so let’s cross him off the list as well. This means, that the next best choice for a max contract is Joe Johnson. Joe Johnson, to me, is in the same class as Bosh. Very good player, but not the guy I want to build my team around if I plan on winning titles. So at this point we’ve established the Knicks best realistic duo this summer as Bosh and Johnson.
So, if you are a GM is having a duo of Chris Bosh and Joe Johnson surrounded by nobodies (the Knicks will have to renounce their rights to David Lee to make this possible) a good idea? I would argue it is not. Bosh, Johnson, and some nobodies would be a playoff team no doubt. They’d be somebody you would probably rather not face in the playoffs, but they are not a title contender. The Knicks potentially could have kept their 1st round picks in three of the next four drafts, kept their 1st round pick from 2009 Jordan Hill, and maybe have had a enough potential to realistically signed LeBron or Wade. There is no guarantee that would occur or work out better, but at this point I’m convinced the potential of a true franchise player plus the picks to fill out that roster would be better than a Bosh/Johnson combination with little chance of filling out the roster of role players. Ultimately, it looks like New York isn’t going to be a contender anytime soon. That said, there should at least be a reason to watch them starting next season which should be a welcome sight for Knicks fans.