I think it is particularly difficult to speculate on coaching because who knows what ideas or thoughts were shared in the interview. So I will just list the ones I think are most promising.
Fizdale, Stackhouse, Budenholzer
On the other side their are a few that I think would be a mistake:
Blatt and Jackson
The 2018 Draft:
Assuming nobody free falls from the top of the draft and the Knicks get the 9th pick, they should target 3 and D wings such as Mikal Bridges or Miles Bridges. Both should be available at 9, and both are plug and play. They should not take a PG in the draft. I might have some pause if Wendall Carter is still available, but his defensive shortcomings have me focused primarily on the wings.
The Knicks should trade Lee and Thomas for the best draft picks or younger players with upside they can get. They are both fine players with reasonable contracts. I trade them only because I know they are not going to be around by the time the Knicks are ready to contend. Cannot take on additional financial commitments in any trade.
This will free up close to 20 Million dollars off the cap. And provide an infusion of youth to the roster.
If Enes Kantor opts out, I would only be interested in resigning him if he would take less per year than he is now. If he would sign a 4 year 55 million deal I would think about it, otherwise he could walk. I think he is a fine player but with the defensive limitations I am reluctant to commit to him long-term. If he doesn’t opt out then he would be my starting center. As we approached the trade deadline next season, I would either trade him and his expiring contract or be certain that I wanted to lock him long term. My guess is he does not opt out of his contract.
Kyle O’Quinn will and should opt out. Knicks need to let him go.
Ron Baker If he opts out, the Knicks need to let him walk away.
If all three opt out and walk that will clear close to 28 Million off the cap. With the trades above that would clear 48 million off the cap. Lets assume that Kantor and Baker stay, we still clear close to 5 Million on the options and when combined with the trades close to 25 million of cap room.
I would have Joakim Noah back and be either my starting center if Kantor opts out or my primary backup if he does not opt out. I would try to build his value so that we may be able to trade him. Admittedly that is unbelievably unlikely but I would roll with him one more and then trade or release and use stretch provision.
Knicks would have shed 25-48 million from their cap with only taking on minimal salary back — the draft picks salaries. Thus, we freed space for this year and next.
I would be reluctant to splurge this year. I would rather save the cap space for the following year. Having said that, if a young wing is available at the right price, I would make the move as long as the player is 26 or under.
Starting Lineup and Rotation 2018-2019:
- Frank Ntilikina: This should be obvious. His natural position is at the one, and he s time to improve his offense. On defense he is already there and he can switch on any guard or wing with his length. Trey Burke* and Emmanuel Mudiay
- Tim Hardaway Jr: Damyean Dotson
- Mikal Bridges: Assuming he is the pick at 9 for the Knicks he slides right into the starting lineup. He is 3 and D guy that can switch on to anyone. Troy Williams
- Kristaps Porzingis: Until he returns Luke Kornet and Isaiah Hicks will man the spot.
- Enes Kantor: if does opt out, then, Joakim Noah can man the spot with Kornet or a free agent as a primary backup.
With the injury to Porzingis this team is not going to have tremendous success next year. However it will allow much of the young talent to improve, and provide a good pick in next years draft. It also provides increased cap flexibility for next year. With an additional year for Ntilikina and Burke, a year for Bridges a free agent or two and another top 5 draft pick the Knicks will be ready to compete in 2019-2020.
*Burke is my 6th man for his instant offense off the bench.