The Knicks roster this past season had surpassed the one-hundred
twenty million dollar mark as they totaled for 123 million
dollars total. As many New York Knick fans will tell you,
money is never an issue but when they completed the season
the Knicks regressed once again and ended up having the worst
record in the eastern conference at 23-59. If it weren't
for the Blazers who went 22-60, the Knicks would have had
the worst record.
Knicks are a clear example on how talent doesn't equal
to wins. Three years ago, 2003-2004, the Knicks made the playoffs
with 39 wins, no this stat isn't supposed to impress
you to the least but when you look at the roster, it was utterly
horrific. Yet the team managed to squeak into the playoffs
only to be swept by the Nets in the first round.
Isiah Thomas was hired by James Dolanin the middle of that
season and brought in Stephon Marbury in hopes to solve the
“talent” problems the Knicks had in the back court
and brought in Penny Hardaway as well. The Knicks shipped
Lampe, Ward, Eisley, and the rights to Milos Vujacic. This
was the first of many moves where Isiah Thomas had shipped
expiring contracts for over-paid talent.
In the off-season
of 2004 the Knicks added more talent to the team and completed
a sign-and-trade with the Chicago Bulls. The Knicks were on
the receiving end of Jamal Crawford and traded Othello Harrington
and Frank Williams to the Bulls. Again the Knicks added talent
to their roster but the end result wasn't surprising
to say the least. With the addition of Trevor Ariza and Jerome
Williams the Knicks won 33 games in 2004-2005. I am not a
supporter of Isiah Thomas but even I realize that he added
talent, yet the team wasn't clicking.
In the off-season of 2005 the Knicks were granted a relief
from the league. A clause would give the Knicks luxury tax
relief from any player they wish to cut. The player the Knicks
picked was Jerome Williams. A mere subtraction of talent as
the Knicks only piled on more. Knicks drafted Channing Frye,
Nate Robinson, and David Lee and added center Eddy Curry and
used the mid-level-exception on Jerome James. Eddy curry was
traded with Antonio Davis for Mike Sweetney, Tim Thomas, and
Jermaine Jackson along with a 2006 draft pick and the rights
to swap with the Knicks in 2007.
We all know Jerome James was a big mistake but it was added
talent nevertheless along with Eddy Curry. If one questions
the additions of talent, just look at the draft and the trade
for Richardson. The Knicks on paper were better then the previous
year and the two years ago. However, the 2005-2006 season
turned into failure once again as they won a mere 23 games.
Yes, the Knicks failed to be competitive again but they still
increased the amount of talent they had after trading for
Steve Francis and the signing of Jarred Jefferies and the
draft pick of Balkman and Collins. Isiah Thomas hasn't
learned from his mistakes that it takes selfless basketball
and defense to win games, Knick fans have to hope with the
three latest roster moves (Balkman, Collins, and Jefferies)
the Knicks will regain the defensive edge they once in the
90's with Mason, Ewing, and Oakley.
Overall, more than adding security to a young team, these
signings have created an atmosphere of competition for many
starting spots and for time off the bench. While it remains
to be seen if that competitiveness will bring the team down
or help build it up, it leaves many unanswered questions as
to which 5 players will be stepping onto the court on opening
night and throughout the season, as well as down the road.
With draft pick Roko Ukic still overseas at PG, along with
Jose Calderon and TJ Ford, then Parker, Jones and holdover
Morris Peterson looking for the start at SG, a question mark
that needs dealing with at SF (and one that won't be answered
by incumbent Joey Graham or rookie PJ Tucker out of Texas),
Bargnani, Garbajosa and Bosh creating the jam at PF, and finally
an underperforming Rasho Nesterovic at C, with no good alternatives
other than playing Bosh out of position there, this Raptors
team needs to get sorted out, and quick.
Given that Garbajosa is already 28, and Parker older at 31,
anything this Toronto team does will have to be quite soon
for the signings to pay off. But seeing as Colangelo knows
speed better than anyone, and given his track record with
run-and-gun Phoenix, quick decisions should be no problem.