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Don’t look for Knicks to make many offseason moves, just big one

May 10, 2012, 9:09 AM EDT

Miami Heat v New York Knicks - Game Four Getty Images

Before the first jump ball tipped off the season on Christmas, this was the season everyone thought the Knicks would take a step forward. Maybe only to the second round of the playoffs, but they were going to be good. At least the third best team in the East.

Instead, they had to fight their way into the seven seed, landed the Heat in the first round and got pushed aside pretty easily in five games.

It wasn’t always pretty. However, through the roller coaster of a season an identity and winning basketball emerged near the end. They played good defense, they ran the offense through Carmelo Anthony but there were shooters around him and it work. And for one playoff game ‘Melo and Amare Stoudemire worked together.

There are some Knicks fans looking for big changes — if ‘Melo and Amare don’t work then trade Stoudemire; bring in Phil Jackson to coach; go get Steve Nash.

I think you will only see the last thing on that list.

I believe the reports that the Knicks are in talks to make Mike Woodson the permanent coach. Woodson was 18-6 to close out the season, he is a college teammate of GM Glen Grunwald, he has the backing of Isiah Thomas who is whispering in owner James Dolan’s ear, and most importantly of all he has the support of Carmelo Anthony. Put simply, ‘Melo played hard for him where he would not for Mike D’Antoni. I still believe that Jackson does not want to return to the sidelines — not even for the Knicks job — and if Dolan can’t have him he’ll go with Woodson.

After that the core of the roster is basically set. Iman Shumpert is the starting two guard (once he returns from knee surgery), ‘Melo at the three, Stoudemire the four and Tyson Chandler the five. I don’t think they can move Stoudemire even if they wanted to (too big an uninsured contract) so Woodson needs to find a way to make him and ‘Melo work together. Jeremy Lin is a restricted free agent but he is a marketing cash cow for the team (plus a nice player) and they will not let him go. J.R. Smith may be gone and the bench needs to be filled out (expect Steve Novak and Landry Fields to be retained) but those are bench role players, the core starters are set.

Except they need a veteran starting point guard to go with them.

New York will go hard at Steve Nash. They can’t offer him a big contract (they are already over the salary cap) but they can say if he wants to contend he makes these Knicks a contender. Nash already lives in New York in the offseason.

The only question is one of fit — if you have the ball in Nash’s hands to set up the offense it is not in Anthony’s hands. And Anthony is only happy when the offense runs through him. Asking him to work off the ball while Stoudemire runs the pick-and-roll with Nash is how D’Antoni lost ‘Melo (just with a different point guard). You can still give Anthony the rock when Nash sits or call his number some trips down, but either way the fit can be strained.

However, this is Nash coming in, not Jeremy Lin or Mike Bibby. This is a two-time MVP. Woodson can push ‘Melo to share, and Nash’s three point shooting would provide spacing when Anthony does drive from isolation.

Nash can work in New York. It will take some sacrifices by everyone, but it can. If Nash decides to play elsewhere, look for the Knicks to go after Jason Kidd or try to trade for another veteran point guard. But Nash is the big fish, the one guy still playing at an elite level who might come for less money and be able to push this team forward.

It’s not a lot of changes — next season’s Knicks may look a lot like this season’s version. But there could be one change at the point and if so the Knicks become very interesting.

This summer in New York will be interesting either way.

  1. hareluya724 - May 10, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    can someone please explain to Kurt that Knicks will have no money to offer to Nash other than the veteran’s minimum? with chandler, stoudemire, melo, and the rest of rookies/sophomores, they are already over the salary cap. They’ll most likely give close to all of the mid level exception to retain Lin. Fields and novak are most likely gone. Getting Nash while retaining Lin is as likely as Knicks landing Durant in a trade.

  2. 1972wasalongtimeago - May 10, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    Did you hear the Heat’s PA announcer after Stoudamire fouled out?

    “It is his SIXTH, personal foul. He has been….(wait for it)…..EXTINGUISHED……..from the game!”

    Classic. Great and horrible all at the same time.

  3. heat256 - May 10, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    I don’t really see Nash going there. All things being equal, he can go to MIA and has two players who will run and rack up easy baskets off his assists. The Heat is simply primed to win and win now and NY just has too many questions to say whether they can seriously contend with Melo and Stat in the lineup.

  4. gmsalpha - May 10, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    Nash can work in New York. It will take some sacrifices by everyone, but it can.

    *************************

    That’s funny. Melo tore out the page in the dictionary that includes the word “sacrifice”.

    With that said, I don’t really see a better option for Nash. If Dwight Howard wasn’t such a clown, the Magic would be a really great fit with their inside-outside game. Nash really needs to go to a contender, and although I don’t believe in the Knicks, at least that’s an Eastern Conference team. The Heat and Bulls (with a healthy Rose) will be the top dogs for the foreseeable future, but after that, there’s quite a precipitous dropoff in talent.

    • lmoneyfresh - May 10, 2012 at 11:53 AM

      Nash would be a wonderful contingency plan for Rose while he rehabs that knee. Plus when Rose gets back having those 2 on the floor could bring about some interesting possibilities. Nash could also be a good mentor for Rose, who after this injury will need to learn how to be more of a perimeter player.

  5. daniel10017 - May 10, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    They need to find a taker for Amare. Unlike Carmelo, Amare never really wanted to come here. The Knicks were the only fools offering the $$$$. Let’s not kind ourselves, the $$$ followed Amare to NY.

  6. passerby23 - May 10, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    Jason Kidd signing with New York makes no sense at all. He’s talked about playing one more year and, if you’re trying to develop a core, what’s the point in signing an aging point guard for one year? Better off just developing Lin with this group and finding an appropriate backup.

    Melo and Nash can work. Where have you seen bad chemistry with Steve Nash on the floor? You can run double pick-and-rolls through Anthony and Amare. You can iso Melo when Nash sits. You can mix it up when they’re on the floor.

  7. djlexluger - May 10, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    The headline makes no sense.

  8. Justin - May 10, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    “he has the backing of Isiah Thomas who is whispering in owner James Dolan’s ear”

    Why am I envision a LOTR Wormtongue and King Theoden thing going on here.

  9. cmerks22 - May 10, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    amare for boozer. please take boozer. I beg you new york.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - May 11, 2012 at 1:04 PM

      WHY WOULD WE WANT THAT WORTHLESS BUM WHO RIDES THE PINE WHEN EVERY GAME IS ON THE LINE???

  10. dgbk - May 10, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    @daniel

    so melo came here for something else other han money?? atleast amare came here when they had no one… melo came here because of amare, money, market and to help his wife career… lets not act like either of them came here for the love of the game

    • honeyboywilson - May 10, 2012 at 12:41 PM

      Just wondering: do you work for the love of your job, or for the money?

  11. hwatt - May 10, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    but what happens to Linsanity if Nash arrives? I’m kinda serious, do you think the whole front office will agree with demoting the cash cow into Mr 6th Man for… wins? Only bright side I see is Nash is old so Lin will be a more active backup pg than if he were backing up a pre-injury D. Rose

    • yournuts - May 10, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      They work together, one at a time at point guard. Lin learns from Steve Nash. Linsanity will grow because of his popularity.

      • mogogo1 - May 10, 2012 at 1:54 PM

        Lin would be really good as a backup, pushing the ball with the second unit. The height of his success was around the time Melo and Amare were hurt…he’s better when they run and move the ball, which isn’t their strong suit when Melo and Amare are on the floor. The only major downside I’d see with the Nash/Lin combo is neither of them can really defend.

    • dysraw1 - May 10, 2012 at 2:19 PM

      Jeremy Lin is a real nice piece to have he’s proven himself able to play the starting pg in small spurts, however I believe he needs a few more seasons before he will at the height of his talent.

  12. bowens3181 - May 10, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    I would be beyond shocked if Nash ended up in New York. His personality and demeanor simply do not match the selfish attitude emanating from the Knicks, and since they can’t even offer him the most money, why would he go to a team that he doesn’t fit well on, and that, realistically is no closer to a championship then the team he would be leaving behind in Phoenix.

    Also claiming that Nash would force Melo to share the ball is insane. Melo has never, and never will be able to live with himself without having the ball in his hands all the time and without chucking up useless contested jumpers every two seconds. Putting Nash with him would just be a waste of the last few years of a Hall Of Fame career for Nash, because he wouldn’t have the ball enough to make a difference.

  13. bowens3181 - May 10, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    Just throwing this out there but I think a team like the Heat would be more realistic, as they can offer him the same money, would be an alot better fit, and are way way closer to a title then the Knicks are. Another Nash destination that is more likely than New York is Orlando. With the Magic desperate to show Dwight that they are capable of winning, I would not be shocked if both D’Antoni and Nash were brought in this summer in order to convince Howard to sign an extension. With all that said however, I still think Nash’s most likely course of action would just be to stay in Phoenix, where he is happy.

    • david0303 - May 10, 2012 at 12:56 PM

      Nash is an awful fit for the Heat. The major problem with the heat is that they have two players that need the ball in their hands. Think about if you added Nash to that. He needs the ball in his hand running the pick and roll.

      The playing styles don’t fit. Lebron is at his best when he gets the ball and leads the break. With Nash you’d be taking away the best part of Lebron’s game and you cant expect Nash to run the floor and be a spot up shooter on fast breaks.

      • diggy720 - May 10, 2012 at 2:38 PM

        Your comment makes no sense. Fast Break and half court sets when pick & roll is ran are two completely separate types of scenarios. How does Nash being a pick n roll PG affect what happens on the break when Lebron has the ball?

      • kinggw - May 10, 2012 at 3:17 PM

        I agree, Nash isnt a great fit for the Heat. With D’Antoni gone he’s also a bad fit for the Knicks. Its telling that Knicks fans a putting their hopes of being a contender on the shoulders of a 39 y/o with declining skills.

      • bowens3181 - May 11, 2012 at 1:52 AM

        I disagree. I could see Nash potentially clashing with Wade a bit, but I think playing with Nash would do wonders for Lebron and for Bosh, especially Heat are able to mold their offense to more closely resemble the 7 seconds or less offense that Nash ran so effectively in Phoenix.

      • david0303 - May 11, 2012 at 2:40 PM

        @diggy
        so what are you going to do with nash on the break make him a spot up shooter? and in the half court set Lebron has never worked with a pick n roll point gaurd. do you really want to take the ball out of the hands of the best player on the planet right now? i dont see any senario when giving lebron less touches can help your team

  14. majorhavoc83 - May 10, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Hm. Let’s see. Who would be better for the future of the Knicks? A 38 year old Steve Nash or a 23 year old Jeremy Lin?

  15. progress2011 - May 10, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Steve would not work in N.Y. because as soon as the ball touches Melo’s hands, it will come to a Screeching Halt !

    Melo is the face of the franchise and will be, for years to come. So, any pipe dream anyone has of taking the ball out of Melo’s hands, will be swiftly removed from the team and ran out of N.Y.

    However Nash would be a good fit for the Heats running offense. The Heat don’t have a true point guard. LBJ has to bring the ball up the court, set up the offense, get his points and facilitate getting everyone else their points.

    Nash would be able to walk in and start, without controversy on day one.
    Nash-PG
    Wade-SG
    LBJ- SF
    Bosh- PF
    C- whoever it doesn’t matter

    I’m sure the Heat would be willing to give the contracts for Mike Miller, Chalmers, Battier, Haslem and any other worthless scrub they have, taking up valuable bench space. They can go get some guys from a local YMCA in Miami, to replace them and they will be more productive.

    • david0303 - May 10, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      LBJ doesn’t have to bring up the ball its just his strength. He even looks at himself like a pg. Chalmers is capable of bringing the ball up the court, but is there really anyone better than a 6 8 270 pound Lebron sprinting down the court with great court vision and finishing skills. Nash would only take away the most deadly part of Lebrons game

      • david0303 - May 10, 2012 at 1:00 PM

        when i say he looks at himself like a pg i mean he likes to distribute first, then score second

    • gmsalpha - May 10, 2012 at 2:53 PM

      I don’t see Nash fitting in with Miami at all. As it’s been said, Wade and James need the ball to be effective. I still don’t see them working very well together at the end of games and though they will certainly get to the Finals, I would be shocked if they come home with the trophy this year. They might be the NBA’s version of the Buffalo Bills from years ago when they went to the Super Bowl 4 years in a row and came away losers each time.

      Just because a lineup featuring James, Wade, Nash, and Bosh looks imposing on paper does not mean it will translate to an effective team on the court.

      I like the idea of the Magic bringing in both Steve Nash AND Mike D’Antoni. Howard may very well stay if he gets a true All-Star point guard along with a new head coach. And they need a new GM.

      I would absolutely not be shocked if Nash stays in Phoenix. It’s unfortunate because had he stayed in Dallas, he would have had at least one ring already.

      • heat256 - May 10, 2012 at 5:16 PM

        Yes, because Dwight won’t throw Nash under the bus when he doesn’t win. Nash will and should go to a place that gives him the BEST chance at winning, be it MIA, OKC, or LAL

  16. ezwriter69 - May 10, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    What a crock… it doesn’t matter who passes him the ball, everything still will stop when Melo gets the ball, and I doubt Nash will even sign on for that. Wishful thinking, self-deceived NYC writer, I presume.

  17. cantonbound13 - May 10, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    The only person I’d trade Amare for is Dwight Howard & I don’t see that happening. Nash would be a great addition.

  18. lawrinson20 - May 10, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    Someone should proofread this ‘article.’ I get it — it’s ‘online.’ But, are there no longer standards in journalism?

  19. ihatelebron - May 10, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    As a Knick fan, I know all to well that only us Knicks fans would think Nash would be willing to come here. He won’t. You think he wants to end his career with this mess? There are plenty of teams that are less of a mess than us and can offer more money. Melo’s shown he’s not a good teammate and I don’t see any other team stand around as much on offense. I would love to trade amare and chandler for Howard. Also, if we can’t get Nash I’ll be happy with Kidd too.

  20. guitarjimmydolan - May 11, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Get nash. Sign lin. Trade non-stat for 3 role players. Let smith go please. Re-sign novak, jeffries. Trade douglas for a 2nd. Try for phil first if u cant get him then sign woody. This team must come up with an idenity. Melo can work. Its who will he respect to alter his game to fit into team

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