"...The Knicks grand plan is certainly no secret. Since the moment GM Donnie Walsh was hired, his primary objective was blatantly clear: To create and maintain as much cap space as possible in order to go shopping in the summer of 2010.Here's my thing. Writers need to also include that Walsh can package one of these young players with Jared Jeffries in a deal over the next month. There is little doubt in my mind, like last year, Walsh will make a move even if it is a minor one to help the team's current roster and add cap space. That is STILL an option and needs to be talked about in more places than here.
Still, although Donnie has done a stellar job paring down the Knicks payroll and shedding some of the franchise's most expensive and debilitating contracts, the total amount of money the Knicks will have to play with is still unknown. The salary cap is essentially determined as a fraction of total 'Basketball Related Income," and that BRI amount won't be known until later this year. New York will definitely have enough cap space to offer/sign one superstar to a max-level contract, but not the two studs some New Yorkers were hoping for. Depending on where the cap is set - some doomsday scenarios had the cap falling all the way down to $50.4 million - the Knicks may be left only about $20 million under the cap.
Moreover, having cash and cap space is only part of the equation. In order for Walsh to be able to entice potential free agents, he needs to be able to sell the Knicks as an organization with attractive talent already on the roster. Regardless of which elite free agent the Knicks target, all of the top-notch players on the market are going to want a chance to win. The most sought-after free agents aren't going to join a team without legitimate championship aspirations. Thus, Donnie Walsh is going to have to be able sell their core foundation as one worthy of serious consideration.
And, when discussing the future, the Knicks two most promising and prominent building blocks are their athletic wings: Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler...
The other two Knickerbockers that will almost certainly be on the team on Opening Night next season are the two draft picks from the 2009 draft: Jordan Hill and Toney Douglas. Knicks fans are hoping that these two youngsters will become an integral part of the group that turns the franchise's fortunes around.
Selected eighth overall last June, Hill was a highly touted low-post force coming out of the University of Arizona. Jordan finished his three-year career at Arizona ranked among the school's career leaders in points, rebounds, blocks, and field goal percentage. As a junior, he averaged career-highs of 18.3 points (on 54% shooting) and 11 rebounds per contest, which earned him all All-Pac-10 honors.
However, Hill spent most of his first few months in the NBA on Mike D'Antoni's bench (while a few other late lottery picks – notably Brandon Jennings – burst out of the gates.) But Hill appears to have slowly but surely worked his way into D'Antoni's rotation. Hill has played double-digit minutes in each of the Knicks last four games, and is averaging 6.5 points on 57% shooting over that stretch. Hill is raw and still has to make giant strides (especially on the defensive end of the floor) before he contribute on a consistent basis, but flashes of that tantalizing skill set make occasional appearances...more."
Chandler, who makes $2.1 million dollars next season, may be paired in a deal with Jared Jeffries to free more space...if there is a taker.
Chandler has proven to be a solid, cheap and up and coming player in this league. The team can also use Jordan Hill who makes roughly $2.7 million next year. He's been solid in his cameos recently, which is no big surprise.
Bottom line is that the team does need these players to continue to develop, and it seems they have. Again, I'm not in love with the idea of moving youth, because I like all these players and the organization does too, but in order to guarantee a second superstar it may make a lot of sense to think about.
As I've said before, I'd be shocked if Gallinari is dealt, but as we said with Clyde, if the right deal come along and Jeffries is moved, you really have to consider it.