For the Knicks fan who can only stand to be a Knicks fan for 15 minutes per week: So much intrigue is happening now that the Knicks have hung them up for the season. This weekly series is here to help you keep track of it all.
This weekly post has mentioned “the noise” all offseason long. Sunday, it came to a head and sounded like this to Knicks fans:
1. My Heart, My City
Carmelo Anthony announced his plan to return to the Knicks via his website early Sunday afternoon. In it, he said, “I want to stay and build here with this city and my team” and would later say “I’m willing to ride or die for New York”.
Days later the details of his contract became known. As Phil Jackson had hoped, Melo took slightly less than the max salary in the first years of the deal. This in theory could go a long way in giving the Knicks the flexibility to sign better players next offseason. His salary, per year:
- 2014-15: $22,458,000
- 2015-16: $22,875,000
- 2016-17: $24,559,380
- 2017-18: $26,243,760
- 2018-19: $27,928,140
The contract also includes a no-trade clause and an opt-out option (much like the one he just exercised) after year 4.
As Kevin McIlroy points out in The Cauldron, the signing of Carmelo closes the book on one chapter but also opens up a whole new world of unknowns heading into the upcoming season.
Integrating Carmelo and his teammates into the new triangle system will be a process (noted not only by McIlroy but by Phil Jackson). There might be no player better suited for that task, however, than Number 7:
“The Knicks could have all the cap room in the world for the next 10 summers, and they still might not be able to acquire a player who fits that role better than Anthony. ”
2. Words from Above
Phil Jackson got his man – for what is seemingly the price that he wanted him at – and said that Melo is “the cornerstone of what we envision as a team of excellence” and that he “did exactly what we kind of asked him to do. Give us a break in the early part of his contract so that when we have some wiggle room next year, which is hopefully big enough wiggle room, we can exploit it, provide a more competitive team for our group”.
Coach Derek Fisher, in his usual polished manner, added “ I have had the opportunity to be around some of the greatest players in our game, and now I have the honor of coaching Carmelo. This is an exciting time for the New York Knicks franchise and our fans. I look forward to working with him and building something special together.”
3. Amar’e on the Move (?)
Amar’e Stoudemire has been sharing some of his off-season workouts on Instagram, and it looks like he is moving well.
But, according to Marc Berman, he may not put on a Knicks jersey again. While unlikely, this possibility has surfaced: Berman reported that the 76ers might be willing to accept Stoudemire’s contract if an extra “pawn” was also thrown, such as Iman Shumpert.
4. Summer League
The Summer Knicks are thus far undefeated at 3-0 with a 4th game Thursday, July 17th at 10:30pm on MSG. Tim Hardaway Jr. leads the team in scoring at 20.7 ppg, Cleanthony Early has contributed 12 ppg, Jeremy Tyler is at 11.3 ppg and Shane Larkin has been averaging 10.3 ppg.
So what comes next now that Phil Jackson, Derek Fisher, and Carmelo Anthony are all signed on?
For Fisher, the future is brighter than most pundits have been predicting: Fisher said recently that he believes the Knicks, as they are currently constructed, are a playoff team.
And Phil & Co. made inroads toward reinforcing the frontcourt, signing 7 foot Center Jason Smith from the New Orleans Pelicans. Last season, Smith averaged 9.7 points and 5.8 rebounds in 31 games. His contract is for $3.3 million.
Questions still remain surrounding the surplus of guards on the roster and the shortage of bigs who fit the triangle offense. It’s the middle of July and there has not been one dull week of news, rumor, or noise since the season ended. With Carmelo-Mania now over, it figures to die down somewhat. But with this team, in this city, next week in Knicksland always looks like it will be just as interesting as the last.
-Melo presented the award for Best Team with Julius Erving at the ESPY’s Wednesday night.
(feature photo via www.thisismelo.com)