At this point, there has not been any real good New York Knicks news for fans in the Big Apple in recent seasons. This team remains the least-talented in the entire NBA heading into the 2020-21 season even as it moves forward with a new head coach Tom Thibodeau and team president Leon Rose.
At issue for the Knicks more than even their inability to draft well is an unwillingness of star players to head to North America’s largest media market in free agency. We’ve seen this repeated at every turn since New York last earned a playoff spot back in 2012-12.
The hope here is that this will change with Thibodeau and Rose leading the charge. At least for now, the new head coach is putting a positive spin on things.
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Knicks news: Tom Thibodeau confident team will add star players
“Sometimes you have to do it through trades, free agency. But I think you have to be very aggressive in seeking out those opportunities,” Thibodeau said, via New York Daily News NBA insider Stefan Bondy. “They just don’t happen by accident. You have to make them happen.”
Talk about a glass half full mentality from the veteran head coach. For his part, Rose had high expectations heading into his first offseason as the Knicks’ president. The end result was the additions of Skal Labissiere, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Nerlens Noel. Yeah, that really happened.
This comes after the Knicks failed miserably in chasing after star free agents Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant prior to the start of the 2019-20 season. Both opted to join the Knicks’ Big Apple rivals in that of the Brooklyn Nets. Talk about a slap in the face.
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Rose and Co. were not keen on the idea of adding former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook to the mix prior to him being traded from the Houston Rockets to the Washington Wizards. In what was a watered-down free-agent market, New York apparently opted to punt on the 2020-21 season in lieu of next summer.
On the surface, that seemed to make a ton of sense. After all, next year’s free agent class is much better than this year’s iteration. Even then, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s decision to sign a record-breaking extension with the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 15 changed the dynamics in a big way.
The likes of Kawhi Leonard, Demar DeRozan, Jrue Holiday, Rudy Gobert and Victor Oladipo are all slated to become free agents next summer. Each one of these players would have been the cream of the 2020 crop. In no way does this mean the Knicks can add star power in free agency without acquiring more talent via a trade.
The good news? It sure looks like these Knicks will be in line to land the top pick in a loaded 2021 NBA class. Whether the lottery falls in their favor remains to be seen. It didn’t this past fall.
Either way, Thibodeau being confident in what the organization can do is not a bad thing. It’s now up to Leon Rose and Co. to do their thing. Heck, it’s up to embattled owner James Dolan to let them do their thing and stay hands off. Realistically, that’s the biggest issue with these Knicks heading into the 2020-21 NBA season.
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