The NBA Free Agency period is still in full swing but the majority of the big name stars are off the table as Kevin Durant and Pau Gasol reached agreements with the Warriors and Spurs respectively. While there are still a few players out there either team could make a move on by the start of training cap some fans will be rejoicing while others may start looking for the home address of Billy King.
The Knicks handled their business this off-season with the trade for Derrick Rose and the FA signing of Joakim Noah, Brandon Jennings and Courtney Lee. It wasn’t just the signings that had me shocked it was the way the Knicks handled their entire off-season. The last few seasons in New York has been a total disaster, you can place the blame anywhere but 2016 has been a resurgence of sorts. Phil Jackson pulled up his sleeves and went to work. He got name players but he also threw his hat in the ring for bigger names as well. Maybe they never had a chance with Durant but the effort was there unlike past seasons.
Their rivals across the bridge, the Brooklyn Nets had, well let’s just say they are still able to floor a starting five for next season. Don’t come at me sideways, this is still my team, you will still catch me at Barclay’s Center cheering them on but I will be cheering for players that will let me down countless times next year. The new regimen of Nets officials are cleaning up a disaster zone of a mess left by former GM Billy King. With no draft picks this year the Nets were forced to give away a talented and their most consistent player last year, Thad Young for the 20th pick. It will not be a good season on Atlantic Ave.
The Knicks struggles appear to be over while the Nets are in for a few “Timberwolves” years. If Rose can stay healthy, Noah can get back to his Dennis Rodman ways the Knicks can see a #3 or #4 seed in their future. They entered the off-season looking to improve defensively and with the addition of Noah and Lee they have achieved that goal. Lee is not the scorer that Afflalo was (when he actually made a basket that is) but given fewer shots his production will be better. When or if Rose goes down the Knicks brought in a capable backup in Jennings who might actually be a better fit playing in HC Jeff Hornacek’s uptempo offense.
Across the bridge it’s a who’s who cast of characters. Brook Lopez is still the anchor, the newly acquired Jeremy Lin looks to rekindle some of the NY mojo that made him a brief superstar in the league, but after those two it’s a project. the Nets signed two free agents to offer sheets only to see their respective teams match. Instead of a lineup that would’ve featured Lopez, Lin, Tyler Jonson, Allen Crabbe and Trevor Booker, the Nets will look to build around Isaiah Whitehead, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Chris McCullough and Sean Kilpatrick. Not household names in the least but they must start somewhere, right?
Expectations for both teams and polar opposites. The Knicks should expect to see the playoffs with their current roster, while the Nets should enjoy any victory that comes their way in 2016.
As seen on DraftUtopia.com