The New York Knicks payroll for the upcoming 2011-2012 season is $64,972,189... and this accounts for only 9 players who are currently under contract on this roster... (50 million of our cap reserved for our "big-3"):
[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Chauncey Billups, Ronny Turiaf, Ronaldo Balkman, Toney Douglas, Bill Walker, Andy Rautins & Landry Fields.
We just selected 2 players in the draft (Iman Shumpert and Josh Harrellson). We're also considering recalling 7-footer Jerome Jordan. We definitely want to bring back free agent Shawne Williams (and possible Anthony Carter, Shelden Williams & Derrick Brown). I'm going to go out on a limb here and say we let Jared Jeffries walk...
H-O-W-E-V-E-R... OBVIOUSLY, the salary cap aint going up. If we're lucky the cap is somewhere between 65 and 70 million. I wouldn't count on it though. Sounds like Stern is pushing for a cap slightly beneath where we are right now:
"In a session Tuesday that NBA commissioner David Stern had labeled critical to the parties' ability to get a new labor contract in place by the current one's June 30 expiration, the owners revealed more specifics from their latest proposal than the union did. One of those was the "flex" salary cap in which a targeted team-payroll amount -- $62 million, Stern said -- would be bracketed by a minimum and a maximum, both still undetermined even in the owners' proposal."
[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
Anyway, someone else better suited to talk about this stuff (a captologist, if you will) can expound more on the details of what a hard or flex cap means, as well as what sort of possible exemptions will/do/may/might exist that allows the free-spending Dolan to create more space for our beloved Knickerbockers.
But, suffice to say, our Knicks are stuck between a rock and a water tower. Let's just assume we keep 1 of these 3 "bigs" - Jordan, Williams, Harrellson; we resign Shawne and, of course, we keep Shumpert. I'll be conservative and guess we sign these 3 players for a combined 2.6 million?
I suspect Mr. Balkman (and his 1.675 mil) is a goner. So, 9-1=8 (+3) gives us 11 players for slightly over 65 million. BUT... a roster like this does what exactly?
Douglas, Fields, Shawne Williams, Walker, A BIG, Rautins
Along with this cast... we would probably bring in a guy like B-Wells, J-Alexander, take a gamble on a guy like Vernon Goodridge, and some other creative manuevering... STILL, this isnt good enough. Trades have to be made, and we pray exemptions are available! BUT, most likely, this is what our roster will look like next year.
TRADES: The problem here... Our tradeable assets (Douglas, Fields, Walker) make about 1 million (give or take). Even if we toss in a Balkman, it still barely adds up to 3 million. SO, what sort of players are out there... whom we could afford to deal for and could be on the block? I would suggest... here's some players I would look at if I were GM:
Ramon Sessions (4.2 mil), Dahntay Jones (2.7 mil), Luke Ridnour (3.6 mil), Goran Dragic (2.1 mil), DJ Augustine (3.2 mil), Omri Casspi (1.3 mil), Robin Lopez (2.8 mil), Eric Maynor (1.5 mil), Erson Ilyasova (2.5 mil), Carlos Delfino (3.5 mil), Tony Allen (3.1 mil), Will Bynum (3.5).
FREE AGENCY: The problem here... We just don't have a hole lot of cash available to throw around this summer. Anyway, let's look at some free agents I would target if I were GM:
Samuel Dalembert, Joel Pryzbilla, Jeff Foster, Kenyon Martin, Reggie Evans, Grant Hill, Jason Richardson, Michael Redd, Jamal Crawford, Josh Powell, Kwame Brown, Kurth Thomas, DeShawn Stevenson, J.R. Smith, Tayshaun Prince, Al Thornton, Vladmir Radmanovic, Josh McRoberts, TJ Ford, Sebastian Telfair, Shane Battier, Carl Landry, Tony Battie, Ji Jianlain.
I'm not even going to bother/tease and look at restricted free agents (like DeAndre Jordan & Marc Gasol). I doubt we'll be able to pry away an impact player that way, plus we need a few pieces... not just one. BUT, if I had my way.. I would bring in Jordan or Gasol, and that would be it!
NEEDS: What are our needs? I see it this way:
This is what I would focus on this offseason. How do I bring in 5 players who fill these roles?
Looks like I can trade for a backup PG, while I can sign a starting C, along with a wing defender... And I should be able to find a shooter/scorer by taking a chance on somebody (ala Shawne Williams).
Solution: The time has come to wrap it up. What to do? What would you do? What would I do?
First, the easiest spot to fill: find a shooter/scorer. There has to be somebody from this mix that will sign here on the cheap... have a shot to win. Who from this bunch, huh? We have legit options, risks, and plan-b types:
JR Smith, Crawford, Richardson, Sessions, Hill, Radmanovic, Ilyasova, Casspi, Michael Redd, Alexander, Wells.
Get me one of these guys.
Second, let's find a starting C shall we. Sign Samuel Dalembert, Marc Gasol or DeAndre Jordan. Problem solved! OK, wont be that easy. I would then look at Jeff Foster or Joel Przybilla. If this doesn't work out... then look to beef up PF and check out guys like K-Mart, Evans, Landry, Thomas. Last resort is Jianlain, McRoberts, Brown, Thornton.
Now we move on the a wing defender. Easy! Stevenson, Battier, Battie or Dahntay Jones.
You want some size? Jordan or Harrellson, Foster or Evans, along with my Jianlain does the trick.
Lastly, let's go shopping for a backup PG. Sessions or Ridnour works for me.
FINALLY... What do you do with our current players? Trade anyone? Billups, Douglas, Fields, Walker? Interesting.
Imagine if we could just sign DeAndre Jordan, Battier & Battie, then trade for Ridnour! CHAMPIONSHIP!
But this can't happen. Even with exemptions, we could offer 1 midlevel to a player like Battier... But I'm going to guess we look for a starting C here. So Samuel Dalembert will be a main target.
NOW, I'm going to be conservative and try to think small, b/c we all can shoot at the moon and play fantasy... but that wont happen.
My guess... We bring in a guy like Pryzbilla or Foster; Roll the dice and hope a Jianlain, Redd, Wells works out. We will trade Douglas for a PG, or sign a Telfair; and we'll convince a Richardson, Hill, Battier, Battie, Evans, Landry, Kmart or something to sign for some sort of exemption.
We do have the new BIG-3, so we'll attract some ring-seeking vet, or NY-loving "spotlight" player to sign aboard.
How would this look like:
Crawford/Jason Richardson/Grant Hill/JR Smith (1 of these)
Pryzbilla/Dalembert (1 of these)
Ridnour, Fields, Shawne, Landry or Evans, Turiaf, Redd or Wells, Foster.
I know. I prefer:
Battier, Battie... blah blah blah. Wont happen tho.
SO... let's say our 2011 roster looks like:
I think we trade Douglas for Ridnour or Dragic. Something like that.
I think we resign Shawne.
This will probably be the first 9-man rotation.
I hope we look at a Foster, but we probably settle on bringing back Jordan for C #3.
Anthony Carter or a S-Telfair on bench with C #3 as PG #3. He'll spend a lot of time with Rautins.
I think Balkman and Walker are dealt as well.
I think we take a chance with a Wells, Redd or Jianlain.
Finally, I do hope a Hill or Richardson sign aboard, moving Shumpert out of the rotation (until he earns it).
That's it folks!