Well, I’m going to offer a quick rebuild for Jackson and Fish and those that know me understand I love this type of ****.
Melo opts out to test free agency, but ultimately re-signs with the Knicks.
There are destinations out there that make sense for him, but he’s not going to get paid like he wants to AND a chance to win so I could see him just staying put and seeing what Jackson’s plan is all about. The Knicks will have a lot of cap space next summer and can go shopping for the players that fit Jackson and Fisher’s style of play.
They suffer through next season.
They putter through next season and try to find out what players fit in the Triangle and what players they might want to bring back (most at a reduced salary)….if they fair well in the complicated system. I’d like to see Amare stick around (if he can stay healthy) because his skills translate to a good fit in the Triangle. I’d love to see them bring back Amare at a reduced salary, he’s a natural fit for the offense but they just might let him walk after he underachieved with the team during his time there.
LeBron James will opt in for his next season with the Heat, but after next season I could see him wanting a new challenge. And he’s expressed a desire to play with Melo, the chances of it happening in Miami are slim because James, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade would all have to sacrifice cash to make it work.
Plus, there is still just one basketball….how would they all react to having their numbers slashed drastically? I just don’t see it.
Melo and James would be an excellent duo to build around and one of the best in the league. With Melo, James, and Jackson I could see free agents chasing a ring signing with the Knicks to try and win. The appeal of the Mecca of basketball? Too much to pass up in my opinion.
As it stands now, they have just five players under contract (six, assuming Melo stays):
-JR Smith (6.4 million player option he’d be crazy not to take)
-Raymond Felton (4.5 million player option, unless he gets dealt, a possibility)
-Iman Shumpert (3.9 million qualifying offer as a restricted free agent)
-Pablo Prigioni (1.7 million)
-Tim Hardaway (1.3 million team option, likely to exercise this after a promising rookie season)
James would get about 20 million.
Melo would account for about 24 million when he opts in this summer.
That’s seven players for a total of about 61 million, if everybody remains and the salary cap should rise to about 68-70 million for the 2015-2016 season. It’s very possible a player like Felton could be dealt, his contract is expiring and those are valuable in the NBA. This is a team heavy on guards, they clearly need post players and James makes the team a lot better by himself. He’d definitely attract 2-3 veterans that may want to play for the veteran minimum in the pursuit of a title.
Ultimately James and Melo with David, myself and EJ would be enough to get to the second round of the East….at least, if not the ECF. Heck, they could play James at center and Melo at power forward and they’d be a tough team to beat.
But, seriously…James and Melo would each be capable of putting up 28-30ppg and James would be a serious candidate to average 9-10apg with an elite scorer like Melo to pass the ball to. Wade can still play….but he’s past his prime and his knee will never be the same again, no matter how much rest he gets.
Melo is smack dab in his prime and has a few seasons left before he starts to decline. And at 30 (the age he’d be when they team up), James would still have several elite seasons left, unless an injury should arise.
Here’s the bombshell: I think Al Jefferson could opt out of his 13.5 million deal in 2015-2016 and sign for much less to play in New York. Say 6-7 million per season, a little over the MLE. After next season he’ll have made 98 million in his career, that’s right…Jefferson will have made close to 100 million in his career.
He’s been to the playoffs three times in his 10-year career (once with Boston, Utah and Charlotte) and never made it out of the first round. I could see him looking at Melo and James and saying, “What do they need?” They need a center. And Jefferson would fit the Triangle like a glove. He’s a capable low post scorer, he can rebound and he’s an underrated defender. He’s not great, but he isn’t bad either. Jefferson doesn’t need the limelight, he’d be perfect to do the dirty work and go un-noticed.
James, Melo and Jefferson would be a cinch for the ECF and maybe even the Finals. Regardless of whom they have on their bench….as long as they stay healthy. Jefferson would be good for 18ppg and 10rpg, easily. He’d be the perfect 3rd option to James and Melo in my humble opinion and despite a thin roster…..they’d be dangerous.
I really like James in the Triangle, he’s like a combination of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. He’s not quite in MJ’s class as a scorer, but he’s very similar to Pippen as a facilitator and I think he’d be just perfect in it. You can say that about any offense really, but he’s one of the best passers for a forward the game has ever seen and i think he’d be great next to Melo. And there would be plenty of touches to go around.
I always swing for the fences.
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