The biggest domino of the NBA free agency fell on Monday as superstar Kevin Durant announced his alliance to the Golden State Warriors. As teams around the league continue to scramble for available talent, the New York Knicks are an organization making all the right moves.
Anchored by decision makers Phil Jackson and Steve Mills the Knicks have drastically altered their roster since free agency began on July 1. The first major move was the acquisition of one-time MVP, Derrick Rose. The deal resulted in sending formidable big man Robin Lopez and second-year guard Jerian Grant to Chicago in exchange for Rose and swingman Justin Holiday.
Rose, who soared to stardom in 2011, has been punished with injuries ever since. A step slower than his first years in the league, Rose is a still high-level point guard and a difference maker in the backcourt. His top-tier athleticism and ability to create his own shot, as well as for others, will certainly bode well for No. 1 option Carmelo Anthony and rising phenom Kristaps Porzingis. Holiday is an underrated perimeter player who will surely bring energy off the bench in 2016-17. He's a former World Champion during his days as a role player with the Golden State Warriors. Holiday's length will positively impact both sides of the floor as his perimeter shooting will be appreciated as well
In the coming days the Knicks would continue to bolster their lineup by signing Joakim Noah (4 years, $70 million), Courtney Lee (4 years, $50 million) and Brandon Jennings (1 year, $5 million). Noah, a New York native, rejoins Rose with the Knicks and is an instant upgrade in the front court. While his scoring prowess may not match opposing big men in the league, his importance on the offensive end can not be under appreciated. Noah is one of the better passing bigs in the league. He dished out a career-best 5.4 assists per game in 2013-14 and will surely be an asset in the Knicks' triangle offense come next season. Lee is a confident scorer with deep playoff experience. He's a versatile threat with the ball and is a nice compliment to a player such as Rose. Lee's yet another legitimate offensive weapon that the Knicks will have at their disposal next year. Last (for now) and certainly not least, Jennings is an interesting get for the organization. He's someone with an interesting background (forgoing college for overseas) before making stints for several NBA franchises. He's now Rose's back-up and will be a good one at that.
All in all, the Knicks are heading in the right direction with their recent transactions. As the free agent frenzy continues, the 30-52 Knicks from a year ago are now playoff contenders. With Atlantic Division foes such as the Toronto Raptors (re-signing DeMar Derozan) and Boston Celtics (signing Al Horford) making power moves of their own, the Knicks and new head coach Jeff Hornacek will be a Eastern Conference playoff contenders in the 2016-17 season.