After a hectic NBA free agency weekend, LeBron James is finally going to the Western Conference as he signed a max deal with the Lakers. And with that, the Eastern Conference can exhale a sigh of much-needed relief.
Knicks new head coach David Fizdale did even more than that.
"Hal-le-lu-jah," Fizdale told Newsday's Al Iannazzone after the team's first summer league practice. "Look, I'll take it. That's all I can say."
The reason Fizdale -- and the rest of the teams in the East for that matter -- are relieved is due to the fact that anyone in the can overtake the conference now that James has exited. The Knicks, though, won't be contenders this season, but that doesn't mean Fizdale can't look into the future.
With expected cap space next offseason, the Knicks could be sure-fire contenders to land some of the NBA's top free agents including Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Jimmy Butler. Fizdale is confident the Knicks will be among the conversations for at least one of these stars.
"[GM] Scott [Perry] and [president] Steve [Mills] have done an incredible job of lining it up so that we're in a position next summer to make moves," Fizdale said. "I just feel like with the relationships we've built and our approach to the game and our view of players and the way we view guys and the way we treat guys and the culture we want to build, I really think we're going to find somebody who fits the ball.
"As we get our culture in place, [Kristaps Porzingis] gets healthy, we start moving into next summer, I really feel like we'll have the bricks in place to make some big moves."
Fizdale isn't content with just one superstar to join his team next year. To be a true competitor, having several top talents on the floor at a time is critical, and Fizdale would know considering his time in Miami with James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh as the first so-called "super team."
Back on the West Coast, the Warriors have held that title with their squad of All-Star playmakers. And it looks like they have another coming in with Demarcus Cousins reportedly signing a deal to join Golden State.
So, seeing a window of opportunity to at least compete against teams like the Warriors, Fizdale knows the Knicks need to land more than one player next offseason.
"One just won't do it anymore," Fizdale said. "We saw it with the greatest player in the world. It's hard. And K-Love is no slouch. He's a multi-All-Star player. So it's just really tough. And now with what's going on - which we can't talk about - good grief. You got to have a couple of guys to get to that mountaintop, yeah."
The Knicks will need to make themselves attractive to these free agents first, and Fizdale believes the New York City appeal is all he needs. But this season will be crucial to show these players that the Knicks' young corps is worth taking a shot on.
"It's the greatest city on Earth," Fizdale said. "Guys want to be in New York City. We got NBA players running around New York City right now looking for a place to play pickup.
"If we could just get the foundation in place, really build the structure and the culture in a way that people view it that it's a good thing they're doing out there, the rest of it I think is going to take care of itself."
Though fans would love to see the Knicks tank to have prime position for a top pick and free agents next offseason, this upcoming season is just as important to landing those coveted free agents.