The New York Knicks have been shocking everyone this season. As the season winds down it looks more and more likely that they will finish with a winning record for the first time since the 2012-13 season. The fans are happy and the players are happy. Will big-name players finally want to play at the Garden?
The Knicks have tried for years to attract big-name players to New York. But they have come and gone through free agency empty-handed many times for several reasons. Whether that be poor ownership or players don’t think the Knicks have a good enough roster to win. But this year is different. They have a very good coach: Tom Thibodeau. The team has looked very good and capable of supporting a big name player, they are getting recognition. But the most important factor is that James Dolan has kept quiet.
In the past, James Dolan has made some very negative headlines as the owner. He has made some very odd personnel moves like hiring Phil Jackson to gut the franchise, bringing in Isiah Thomas to be president after no experience, and then bringing in Derek Fisher to coach the team with no experience either. Not to mention his issues outside of basketball.
Being named in a sexual harassment lawsuit in 2007, or banning former Knicks Fan Favorite Charles Oakley from MSG for life after the two got into a physical altercation. These are things you don’t want on your record as an NBA owner. Oakley then claimed that Dolan tried to bully people simply because he has money. Then just last year there was an issue between Spike Lee and James Dolan where Lee claimed he had been treated very poorly by the Knicks front office. All of these situations have been very criticized in the past and have drawn negative attention to the team and players away from the organization.
2021 has been a different story. We have not heard too much from James Dolan, and when we do it’s nothing controversial. He has let the Knicks just play the game and they are now making headlines for being in playoff contention rather than Dolan’s mishaps.
With all of this, the Knicks most likely won’t attract a superstar right away, but that’s not saying we can’t attract a big-name player on a shorter deal. This up-and-coming free agency class has some quality players who are past their primes, such as Mike Conley, DeMar DeRozen, or Victor Oladipo.
Some players have an option to opt-out of a contract like Chris Paul, or RFA’s like Lonzo Ball or Lauri Markkanen. I’m not saying any of these guys will make the New York Knicks a championship-caliber team right away. But if future free agents see that people want to sign here, it is a step in the right direction.
There have been rumors already about the Knicks offering Lonzo Ball a contract this offseason after showing some interest at the trade deadline, however, that all depends on if the New Orleans Pelicans want to match that offer. Other guys the Knicks have been rumored to be interested in are DeMar DeRozen and Victor Oladipo.
Regardless of the Knicks signing any of these guys or not, this season has left a very positive look on the New York Knicks franchise. James Dolan along with Leon Rose and Tom Thibodeau has the Knicks heading in the right direction for years to come.