Another NBA offseason is upon us and the Knicks are, by recent standards, in uncharted waters. The upcoming NBA Draft is almost an afterthought. How to approach next season, rather, is not.
No need for a scoring point guard. Jalen Brunson signed a max deal last summer and was instrumental in the team making it as far as Game 6 of the East Semis. RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson are also under contract for the next few years. Josh Hart is expected to re-sign in free agency.
Throw in an inevitable Evan Fournier trade and, all things considered, the Knicks are actually in a pretty good place. New York could be in an even better one if they trade the indifferently streaky Julius Randle before the draft, but that’s when the real work begins.
This is because if or when Randle is traded, the Knicks need to decide what kind of team they’ll be going forward. Does Obi Toppin step in at power forward, Rose adds a shooter and head coach Tom Thibodeau goes smaller with his offense? Or will the team look to immediately add at the 4, compensate for the lack of Randle’s production, and otherwise adjust on offense as needed?
It’s not as easy a decision as it seems. Remember how in Thibodeau’s first season, three-and-D Reggie Bullock was a key figure down the stretch? The Knicks replaced him that offseason with Fournier. This move is easily Rose’s biggest mistake as Knicks president. His looking at re-acquiring Bullock at the trade deadline practically proves it.
None of this is to say the Knicks will fall hard next season like they did in 2021-22. There will be a regression, but Brunson will navigate it easier than an aging Kemba Walker did. New York now has a crystal clear need on the roster: more shooters. It’s just a matter of if the front office and Thibodeau see them. Are they simple role players, or focal offensive pieces alongside Brunson and Barrett?
Buckle up, Knicks fans. This is going to be one interesting and intriguing offseason.
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