By Francis Paul
The New York Knicks are coming off one of their worst seasons in franchise history and with that being said, changes were going to come. New York has made a ton of offseason moves to try and turn this team around.
Right before the NBA draft, New York made news by trading for former MVP winner Derrick Rose. In the trade, the Bulls sent Derrick Rose, Justin Holiday and a 2017 second round pick to the Knicks for Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant. Right now this trade will help the Knicks win more games, however, this does not help them in the long run unless Rose can find his old form. The old Rose would definitely pay off long term, but he has had a lot of injuries so we don’t know if he can be the player of four years ago or not.
In free agency New York signed Joakim Noah to a four year $72 million deal. As a big, Noah can defend, he knows the game and is one of the better passing bigs in the game, but just like Rose, Noah has had his health concerns as well. Since the 2014 season, Noah has struggled to stay in the lineup due to injuries. However, I think Noah can be a leader on this team and can help guys like Porzingis to develop. This is definitely an upgrade that will help New York, but it’s not a sure thing that will take them over the top.
The Knicks also signed guard Courtney Lee for four years and $40 million. In my opinion, this is a great move for the Knicks. Lee is a solid player to bring off the bench who can give you some scoring because he can shoot the three-ball effectively. He won’t be the main guy New York runs their offense through, but he will open the floor for the rest of the team.
Another important signing for the Knicks was bringing in Brandon Jennings for one year at $5 million. Even though New York is a big market there will be less stress for him there as he will be coming off the bench in a backup role to Rose and he won’t be the primary scorer. However, once again this signing is a huge risk because if he can’t be healthy, someone else will have to step and fill his void. Jennings has missed most of the last two years due to a ruptured Achilles.
Lastly the Knicks brought back Lance Thomas for four years and $24 million. This was quietly a good move for New York. Last season he was arguably the best defender on the team and Thomas drained nearly 40 percent of his three-point shots. At 28-years-old he is still developing and working on his game and with the rise of the salary cap, this was a cheap signing for the Knicks.
The Eastern Conference is going to be a dog fight. Cleveland will be the favorites going into the season as they are the defending champs. Indiana improved their roster by adding Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young and Al Jefferson. The Toronto Raptors, even though they lost Biyombo, still have their core together and Boston made a big move by signing Al Horford. That’s a big signing for the Celtics because they were in need of a quality big man. So when you look at the Knicks, they will be right in the pack with a bunch of very good teams.
Even though the Knicks did not get a sure-fire big name, this is a team that could make their first playoff appearance in three years. All these changes show they are ready to win now.
Francis Paul is an aspiring freelance NBA journalist who has previously published on Vavel.com