Now that free agency has died down, we’re taking a look at where the Knicks currently stand position-by-position. Today, we look at management.
Owner: James Dolan
President/GM: Team president Phil Jackson, GM Steve Mills.
Current 2014-'15 salary cap: Approximately $90 million, according to basketballinsiders.com and spotrac.com.
Strengths: Dolan will spend whatever it takes to win. And now, with Jackson in charge of basketball decisions, the Knicks hopefully have a plan for rebuilding this team into a title contender. Jackson brings championship clout thanks to his 11 rings. That, along with his Zen-like demeanor and team-first approach, will hopefully attract free agents. In his first few months on the job, Jackson has shown he is willing to make moves. He has his head coach in place in Derek Fisher, and he re-signed Anthony, who also can help recruit free agents next summer.
Potential obstacles: Jackson is entering his first full season as a basketball executive. He has never run a team before. Dolan has vowed to give Jackson full authority over basketball decisions and to stay out of his way. But will Dolan do that if Jackson wants to do something Dolan doesn’t agree with? Can the Knicks lure other star free agents to come to New York to play alongside Anthony? We’ll also find out how effective of a team Jackson and Mills will be together.
Outlook: The goal for the Knicks is to add serious reinforcements next summer in free agency, with Stoudemire and Bargnani coming off the books after this season. Jackson may not be done wheeling and dealing, though. After trading Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton and Wayne Ellington among others, he still could try to deal one of his guards (J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Pablo Prigioni, Tim Hardaway Jr.) if he can improve the team. And he could always unload Stoudemire's or Bargnani's expiring contract by the trading deadline as well. With Kevin Love reportedly heading to Cleveland to join LeBron James, the Knicks face an uphill battle in the Eastern Conference. Jackson's moves this season and next summer are critical.
The Knicks want to remain competitive this coming season and try to make the playoffs. But they already are looking ahead to next summer, hoping to find a way to acquire another star to play with Anthony and keep the team’s salary cap in good shape. There’s always the chance the Knicks’ best intentions could be tripped up by something, such as Dolan not being on the same page with Jackson, or stars turning down the Knicks in free agency. But the good thing is, Jackson is here, he appears to have a plan, and he is not afraid to make moves.