Phil Jackson was supposed to find the answers to the questions surrounding the New York Knicks when he was hired as the President of the franchise last summer.
How could they get back to 50 wins? How can they keep Carmelo Anthony? How can they improve the roster? Who is going to coach the team? Will the triangle work? Can Phil put a spell on James Dolan to make him leave?
Over 60 losses and nearly a year later, the Knicks know the answers to some of these questions, but more have risen.
The triangle won't work - obviously. Derek Fisher is the coach - but won't be for much longer, clearly.
How can the Knicks improve the roster?
Where do they go from here?
How do the Knicks - gasp! - rebuild?
Many have said that the way that Knicks should go about kick-starting their rebuild is to do what the Celtics, Timberwolves and Magic have done in recent years: trade their superstar player(s).
But that's exactly what the Knicks shouldn't do. Carmelo Anthony - while injured this year - is all that they have. Melo wants to be a Knick and having him healthy in 2015, 2016 and 2017 could be the one piece that attracts star soon-to-be-free agents.
Phil Jackson certainly isn't that guy anymore to attract superstar - or even mid-level free agent talent.
Sure, trading the superstar has worked for some teams, but the sample size for that success is super small. Recently, there are two examples that can be pointed to as successes - one of which involves Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony wanted to be in a big city so bad that he was able to leverage a trade out of Denver in 2011, but not without then Nuggets' GM Masai Ujiri putting his hand in it.
The Knicks gave up Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, a 2012 second-round pick (Quincy Miller), a 2013 second rounder (Romero Osby), their 2014 first rounder (through draft day trades turned into Jusuf Nurkić ), the right to swap picks in 2016 (which the Nuggets will now be swapping with Toronto) and $3 million cash to Denver.
The Knicks sent that package for Anthony and five other players - who wound up playing a combined 71 games for the Knicks. Yet another example of the Knicks not necessarily losing a trade, but not getting what they probably could or should have gotten.
The Nuggets went to the playoffs in 2012 and 2013 - where they won 55 regular season games - but lost in the first round both times. After dismissing then head coach George Karl and hiring Brian Shaw, the Nuggets are now looking to re-build again - probably - after their second consecutive sub-36 win season.
So sure, two playoff trips. Some success, but an ovverall feeling of meh for the post-Melo Nuggets.
How about the still in-progress, post-KG, Pierce and Rondo Celtics? The first year was pretty terrible, but now in a weak eastern conference, the Celtics are almost back in the playoffs again. But is that a good thing for this Celtics team?
It probably doesn't matter, because there isn't much of a difference between the 9th and 15th pick in the draft. The upside that the Celtics now have is that they are continuing on this rebuilding path with a (maybe) playoff team full of trade-able assets and up Danny Ainge's sleeve are several draft picks from several teams in the league.
Awesome coach: check.
Playoffs: (maybe) check.
Young team: check.
History of winning: check.
Draft picks: check.
Things to trade for a superstar: (maybe) check.
Yea, the Celtics are on their way to re-building and becoming a contender again, but it's all contingent on if those assets and/or draft picks become a superstar, or two, or three.
What about the other teams that traded their superstar player?
The Orlando Magic since trading Dwight Howard: 68 wins, 174 losses. No playoffs.
Since their only a year in-progress with the post-Kevin Love era, let' go here:
The Minnesota Timberwolves since trading Kevin Garnett: 191 wins, 445 losses. No playoffs.
The Knicks have messed up a lot of things in the past two years, but trading Carmelo wouldn't kick-start a rebuild - it would just drive them further into their grave. Besides, through the trades that have happened under Phil Jackson's watch, it's known that he's not really good at trading players.
He gave away Tyson Chandler over the summer. Then a few months later he gave away Iman Shumpert just so he could get rid of J.R. Smith. Moreover, he made all of these trades when these players' values were at their absolute lowest, which is like, how not to win a trade.
Here' what the Knicks do from here:
Fire Derek Fisher. Phil Jackson can find a manikin to do a better job coaching the team.
Hire like, and actual general manager. One that understands how drafting and trades and things work. Take a vacation Phil.
Ditch the Triangle. It's 2015, not 1993. The Triangle isn't effective anymore because A) defenses are too sophisticated and smart. B) the Triangle is a pretty complex offense that needs certain types of players to make it work (none of which the Knicks have) and most specifically, it's tough for stars to readjust to that system this late into their career (like Melo).