It’s the middle of August, but the schedule is out, and here are five Knicks games I am looking forward to:
1. Knicks vs. Bulls, Oct. 29: Carmelo Anthony flirted with joining the Bulls before finally staying. Now he gets to see what could’ve been when the Knicks face the Bulls for the first time on opening night. Instead of getting Melo, Chicago added Pau Gasol. The Bulls should be the second-best team in the East this season.
2. Knicks at Cavaliers, Oct. 30: Carmelo versus LeBron ... with K-Love. The East now runs through Cleveland, and Melo and LeBron James renew their rivalry with James back in Ohio -- and playing in his first home game since his return to town. Kevin Love is set to be traded to the Cavs later this month, making Cleveland the favorites to win the East. The Knicks? They're not contenders yet, but it will be good for Phil Jackson to see how his team matches up with the Cavs, and exactly what he needs to add next summer when the Knicks have cap space.
3. Knicks at Nets, Nov. 7: Remember all that trash talk from last summer about who runs this town? Paul Pierce and Jason Kidd are gone, but both teams should still be engaged when they face each other. With both franchises splitting All-Star Weekend duties this season, James Dolan and Mikhail Prokhorov's crews will have to play nice, but bragging rights help.
4. Knicks at Mavericks, Nov. 26: Remember that trade the Knicks made before the draft? Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton will. While Chandler was ready for a new start elsewhere, he and Felton will be motivated to show the Knicks and Phil they can play.
5. Knicks vs. Warriors, Feb. 7: Derek Fisher versus Steve Kerr. The two first-time head coaches match wits as Phil watches on. Kerr was Phil’s first choice before Kerr opted to coach the Warriors instead. Kerr has the better team right now. But let’s see how Fisher counters Kerr and get an idea of how good two of Phil’s protégés are.