NBA AM: Knicks Enjoying a Solid Summer
The Knicks still have plenty of work to do, but they had a good summer and are in a position to win.
New York Knicks Enjoying a Solid Summer
Right or wrong, New York Knicks team president Phil Jackson has seemingly been a lightning rod for criticism since being hired by the franchise in March of 2014. Some critics base their frustration on the Knicks languishing through a franchise-worst 17-65 campaign in 2014-15. Others point to Jackson’s head scratching decision to trade Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith to the Cleveland Cavaliers essentially for a 2019 second-round pick.
Meanwhile, Jackson’s supporters point to the fact All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony only played 40 games last season due to knee issues, which undoubtedly contributed to the franchise-low win total. Some point to Jackson finding a potential diamond in the rough in Langston Galloway, who made second team All-Rookie last season.
Whichever side of the fence you currently stand on, the Knicks will head into training camp in a much stronger position talent wise after a summer of upgrading the roster. Over the past two seasons, the Knicks have won a total of 54 games. To put that in perspective, the Knicks won 54 regular season games in the 2012-13 campaign alone.
Here is how the team has fared throughout the summer up until this point:
Additions: Arron Afflalo, Robin Lopez, Derrick Williams, Kristaps Porzingis, Kyle O’Quinn, Kevin Seraphin, Jerian Grant and Sasha Vujacic
Lost: Tim Hardaway Jr., Andrea Bargnani, Jason Smith, Shane Larkin, Cole Aldrich and Quincy Acy
As of August 6, the Knicks have a total of $72.8 million in guaranteed salaries on the books for next season, but only $55 million for the 2016-17 campaign. This gives the team plenty of flexibility, assuming they keep their future cap space to make additional roster moves next summer.
The additions of Afflalo and Lopez give the Knicks two veterans who possess playoff experience and have proven to excel in winning environments. Seraphin and Williams represent two former first-round picks with the motivation of having something to prove. O’Quinn has showed plenty of promise as a backup big and is more than serviceable. While Knicks fans may have booed Porzingis at the draft, the forward could develop into a future starter – in due time – and Grant is a solid first-round addition as well.
Things have been rotten in the Big Apple since the 2013 season ended, but optimists feel the Knicks have upgraded their roster significantly this summer. Skeptics point to the fact that the squad was unable to lure a top free agent to town and questions whether Anthony can ever regain full strength in his troublesome knee (or if he wants to be there since the team may be a few years away from contending).
How you view the Knicks will ultimately come down to a matter of perspective. But there’s no doubt Jackson has started to put his imprint on the franchise entering his second full season at the helm.
Warriors Welcome Jason Thompson Into The Fold
After hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy in June, it’s no surprise that the Golden State Warriors haven’t been very active this summer. They brought back many of the same players from last year, and understandable don’t want to disrupt their team chemistry.
With that said, the team did trade veteran forward David Lee to Boston. Although Lee is no longer the 20-and-10 threat he was in his prime, his departure weakened the Warriors’ frontcourt and impacted their flexibility upfront.
To address this issue, Golden State acquired veteran forward Jason Thompson in a trade with the Philadelphia 76ers on July 31. The move marked the second time this summer Thompson had to change addresses.
On July 9, the Sacramento Kings sent Thompson to Philadelphia. Then, the Warriors swooped in and secured him in exchange for the aging Gerald Wallace a few weeks later.
Thompson never reached the playoffs in Sacramento and it was unlikely he was going to taste the postseason with the 76ers fully entrenched in a massive rebuilding project.
Going from a lottery-bound team to the defending champions has put Thompson in a great spot mentally.
“I want to be smiling and winning,” Thompson said according to Janie McCauley of the Associated Press. “I’m probably going to be smiling more.
“It’s definitely a bittersweet situation. I was traded to a team, growing up in Philly and I didn’t play a game, then coming to an organization coming off a title, I haven’t been around much winning this past seven years. A lot of instability with seven coaches in seven years, 180 teammates and things like that. That doesn’t ever lead to winning. To come to an organization that has [won] and coming off a championship, that’s great for myself.”
Thompson, 29, averaged 6.1 points and 6.5 rebounds in 81 games last season with Sacramento. The forward is owed $6.9 million this season and $7 million for the 2016-17 campaign. However, the last year of his deal is non-guaranteed.
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