As the Phoenix Suns seek to win their first-ever NBA title, while the Milwaukee Bucks pursue their first championship since 1970-71, the New York Knicks can only sit back and watch. Eliminated in the first round by the Atlanta Hawks, it was Atlanta that the Bucks overcame in the Eastern Conference final to gain their first NBA Finals appearance since 1973-74.
Phoenix is playing in the NBA Finals for the first time since 1992-93. Meanwhile, the Knicks look back to their last NBA Finals appearance in 1998-99 and their most recent title in 1972-73 with longing. What can they do during the upcoming NBA offseason to move the franchise closer to a championship parade and into contending status in the NBA title future books of online sports betting sites?
In fact, it’s possible that the answer may be nothing at all. There’s growing speculation that the Knicks might opt to sit on their hands and stand pat when it comes to making any monster moves during the 2021 offseason. The 2022 offseason projects to provide access to some franchise-changing talent and the Knicks might be best served in the long run to spend their money more wisely this year in order to wait to pursue some big names in 2022.
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All-Stars In Abundance
Two big names are currently on pace to be at the head of the NBA’s 2022 free agent class. Chicago Bulls versatile shooting guard/point guard/small forward Zach LaVine and Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal both figure to be free agents next year. Each of them are NBA All-Stars.
LaVine posted career high per game averages in points (27.4), rebounds (5.0) and assists (4.9) during the 2020-21 NBA regular season. He’s currently with the USA Olympic team that will compete in the upcoming Tokyo Summer Games, although LaVine may miss the Games after entering COVID-19 protocols.
Beal also posted a career-high in 2020-21, averaging 31.3 points per game for the Wizards. He’s topped 30 points per game in each of the past two seasons. He was also with the USA Olympic team but left the team after entering the COVD-19 protocols.
It’s always possible that the Wizards may look to move Beal this summer if it becomes apparent that he is uninterested in signing a new contract to remain in Washington. He’s been linked in trade rumors with the Denver Nuggets, a team much closer than the Knicks to being a contender for an NBA title.
Can They Stand Pat?
The biggest question in this scenario is whether it’s within the character of the Knicks organization to sit on the sidelines and patiently wait for the right opportunity to strike. Traditionally, the Knicks – and all New York sports teams for that matter – operate on the go big or go home theory.
Just look across town at the star-studded lineup of the Brooklyn Nets. The NHL’s New York Rangers never turn down the chance to land an impact performer. Ditto for baseball’s New York Yankees and New York Mets.
When you reside in the Big Apple, the tendency is to take a bite. It’s not to listen to their better angels and wait to strike wisely when the time is right.
Already, the Knicks are being linked to trade talks involving Portland Trailblazers all-star guard Damian Lillard, as well as Cleveland’s Collin Sexton.
Past bad Knicks contracts also come to mind, from Amar’e Stoudamire to Eddy Curry to Joakim Noah.
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The Future Isn’t Now
Making the playoffs for the first time since 2013, the Knicks under coach Tom Thibodeau are ahead of schedule. That doesn’t mean they should change the blueprint in place designed to put the team back on top.
This is a club with a young nucleus. RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Mitchell Robinson and Obi Toppin are all under 23 years of age. Even main man Julius Randle is just 26. With two first-round picks in the 2021 NBA Draft, the Knicks are positioned to add more young talent to this mix.
Patience isn’t just a virtue, it’s the course the Knicks need to take this summer. The question is whether they can ignore decades of history in order to do so.