Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The New York Knicks: How Low Can They Go?

Six weeks ago the New York Knicks’ season came to a merciful end. The 2005-06 team posted a 23-59 record, second-worst in the NBA, in spite of having the league’s highest payroll and $10 million-per-year coach, Larry Brown. Last night the Knicks’ situation got measurably worse when the Chicago Bulls were awarded the second-overall pick in next month’s NBA draft, a pick the Knicks would have owned if general manager Isiah Thomas hadn’t traded it to Chicago to obtain Eddy Curry, who struggled with injuries and conditioning after dealing with an irregular heartbeat. It gets worse. The Bulls also have the option of swapping first-round picks with the Knicks in the 2007 draft, a strong possibility considering that Chicago (41-41 and a playoff team last season) is well-positioned to further improve its roster. Meanwhile, cap-strapped New York will be hard-pressed to maneuver, considering its stable of overpaid, under-performing players.

So far it hasn’t happened, but the Knicks should buy out the last four years on Larry Brown’s contract and force Thomas to coach the mismatched group he has assembled. On the other hand, the Knicks may be hoping that Brown calls it quits on his own, as its unlikely he’ll suffer through a second season with the same group of players he coached last year. Either way, the Knicks will again be a losing team in 2006-07. I guarantee it.

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