With no pick in the 2014 NBA draft and no significant cap space to chase free agents, the New York Knicks could be in for a world of hurt next season.
Team president Phil Jackson remains highly optimistic, though.
Per Ian Begley of ESPN.com, Jackson believes if the team can re-sign All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony this offseason, the Knicks can contend in the Eastern Conference once again:
I do. I think it has to have kind of a refreshed attitude. I think they call it a beginner mind. Needs a beginner mind to start over again. In the process to bond together, that’s what teams do that are successful and come back with ‘OK we can do this. We can collectively get ourselves back on the same page, same breath and same idea of selfless behavior, whatever our roles and get out there and play the game that’s competitive.’ There should be ample opportunity for this team to come back into competition next year.
The Knicks finished the 2013-14 regular season with a record of 37-45, missing out on a playoff berth by one measly game.
There’s certainly breathing room atop the conference to make a push. The Toronto Raptors finished as the No. 3 seed, but if they had competed in the West, they would have been on the outside looking in as a No. 9 seed.
Injuries to Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton and J.R. Smith halted New York’s progress. A clean bill of health will go a long way in achieving more victories.
The Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets are all rumored to be in the running for Anthony’s services.