Next offseason, the Knicks will only have three players coming off the books that make over $500,000. Beno Udrih, Kenyon Martin and Cole Aldrich will all be free agents at the end of the season, in addition to Toure' Murry who makes just under that mark. That means that, as of right now, with no more additions, the Knicks will have a higher payroll next year than they do this year.
The departing players will take $3.58 million off the books, but increases to Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith's contracts will put them at $90,759,638. This years payroll is $89,740,656. Of course, this is assuming that Anthony opts in to his contract. He has stated publicly that this will not be the case. So that $90+ million could balloon to as much as $92 or $93 million before all is said and done.
This number won't be relevant for a few more months, but the implications on what could take place over the next few days is critical. While a guy like Chandler might not seem like a prime trade candidate right now, moving him could free up space moving forward.
Stoudemire's contract, which expires after the '14-'15 season, is the one that we will all wait to expire, opening up options for the Knicks in the off season before the '15-'16 season. That season, Chandler and Bargnani also expire.
For now it's a waiting game and a big decision for Steve Mills. Do you trade who you can now or do you simply play the waiting game?