The New York Knicks have been a laughingstock of the NBA for many years now. James Dolan has been one of the worst owners in the NBA, as he has not been surrounding their core guys with the right pieces to remain competitive in the Eastern Conference. A fourth seed runs in 2021 was the last we will see from the Knicks, as they decided not to evolve and grow on that iteration of New York.
Jalen Brunson and Isaiah Hartenstein were acquired in the offseason to bolster their squad, but that does not propel them to even a guaranteed play-in spot in the deep Eastern Conference. The front office pays six guys over $10 million, but it seems that only two or three of them are living up to its value. With some young guys with immense potential along with the plethora of draft picks in their pocket, New York must go on a full rebuild and fix the foundation of this franchise.
The Knicks need to blow the whole thing up
It starts in the front office of the squad. For championship-contending organizations like the Golden State Warriors or Boston Celtics, there are excellent guys like Bob Myers and Brad Stevens who are the head of the basketball operations of the franchise. Leon Rose is a former agent of NBA players, but he has not proven himself to excel at the front office position yet.
Before going to the players, the coaching staff is also another major issue of this team. The front office hired a coach who focuses on a defensive-minded bunch, but there are barely any players on the roster who thrive on the defensive side of the floor. When hiring a coach, it must fit the players on the squad as well, similar to how the Utah Jazz hired Will Hardy or the New Orleans Pelicans added Willie Green.
On the player’s side of things, Julius Randle is not a superstar who will catapult a franchise to an NBA Championship. At best, he is a third or fourth fiddle in a championship-contending squad, so the Knicks signing him until 2025 and a player option in 2026 puts them in a difficult predicament of keeping him on the roster. His contract does not hold sufficient value for it to be attractive in the market, so the challenge of trading him continues to grow by the day.
Brunson and Hartenstein are on reasonable contracts, but the deals of Evan Fournier, Mitchell Robinson, and Derrick Rose are horrific for the Knicks. These three contracts are enormous bags with Robinson and Rose known as injury-prone players and Fournier riding the bench for head coach Tom Thibodeau.
Rose has two more years left on his deal, while Robinson just signed an extension that will end in 2026. Fournier has two seasons left with a team option in the third year. These atrocious contracts limit the flexibility of their team because other organizations would be unwilling to absorb guaranteed money from individuals who will not contribute to their team.
The Knicks have seven first-round picks in the next three years, but some of them have protections due to prior trades they executed with other franchises. Missing out on Donovan Mitchell in the offseason was an immense blow, so they must focus on building through the draft with the young assets available on the team. If they go on a full rebuild, you never know if Victor Wembanyama ends up in New York City.