GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The way head coach Derek Fisher sees it, brighter days are just four months away for the New York Knicks.
Fisher believes the Knicks will be able to retool quickly through the draft and free agency this offseason and put themselves in a “really good situation” heading into 2015-16.
New York is projected to have a top pick in the draft and expects to have more than $25 million to spend in free agency this summer. This combination of assets would appear to put the Knicks in good position to rebuild.
But some analysts and fans wonder whether the Knicks –- and first-year president Phil Jackson –- will be able to attract top talent to a team that has won just 12 games this season.
Fisher doesn’t see that as a problem.
“There will be a ton of really, really good players that -- based on where they are in their careers -- they would be interested in something that is being built from the ground up with some really successful people involved that have been able to build success in the past,” Fisher said after practice on Monday. ".... We have some numbers going into free agency; we’ll be able to sign some really good players.”
Fisher also believes the Knicks will get a quality player in June’s draft.
“And I think when you put that together, we’re going to be in a really good situation as we go forward,” the coach said.
Earlier this season, Jackson expressed concern that the Knicks’ poor record would dissuade free agents from signing in New York. But, more recently, he backed off that stance.
The Knicks may also target restricted free agents such as Reggie Jackson, Draymond Green and Jimmy Butler. Chicago has said that it plans to match any offers for Butler; Detroit’s stance on Jackson is less clear, as is Golden State's with Green.
Goran Dragic (Miami), LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland), Marc Gasol (Memphis) and Kevin Love (Cleveland) will also be on the market but the general expectation is that all four players will remain with their respective teams.
Fisher was asked on Monday if the team would make one position a priority over others in free agency.
“I don’t think we’re trying to prioritize a position per se,” Fisher said. “We obviously have money and resources invested in Carmelo [Anthony] at the wing position so that’s covered. But I think everywhere else, we’re not looking at our system as if we have to have that prototypical, dominant point guard. We don’t have to have the new era Wilt Chamberlain. It’s really just putting together a team that has the right balance.”
Calderon out at least two weeks: The Knicks say they will re-evaluate point guard Jose Calderon in two weeks. Calderon has missed the last two games with a left Achilles strain.
The Knicks have three guards on the roster who can handle the ball (Shane Larkin, Langston Galloway, Alexey Shved). So it wouldn’t be a surprise if they looked to add a player on a 10-day contract. New York has an open roster spot to add someone if it chooses. Calderon said Monday that he is committed to returning to the court once he is healthy.
Meanwhile, Fisher reiterated that he hopes Anthony can spend time around the team in the near future. Anthony underwent surgery on Feb. 19. Fisher said Anthony is on crutches but has started to put weight on his surgically repaired knee.