Don’t Look Now, But It Appears The Knicks Are Finally Building The Right Way
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Don’t Look Now, But It Appears The Knicks Are Finally Building The Right Way.
LAS VEGAS – They gathered in an empty ballroom, the Knicks brass, president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry, and head coach David Fizdale to introduce a free-agent signing, and if you knew nothing more there’s a good chance you would shudder. From Amar’e Stoudemire to Jerome James, from Carmelo Anthony to Joakim Noah, New York doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to offseason spending. For nearly two decades the Knicks have searched for a silver bullet, eschewing an organic rebuilding approach for cap-gobbling contracts on big-name stars. The result: One playoff series win since 2000, with hundreds of millions senselessly burned.
Yet this was different. The Knicks introduced Mario Hezonja this week. “The big one for us this summer,” Perry said of Hezonja, the fifth pick in the 2015 draft who showed so much promise in his first three seasons Orlando eagerly showed him the door. What Hezonja has is a natural talent — Perry was part of the Magic front office that drafted him — and a willingness to take a one-year deal.
“We are in a talent-acquisition phase,” Perry said.
Added Mills, “Our goal is to put together a group of guys who can build a Knicks team that can be competitive long term.”
It’s strange, really, to see the Knicks exercise patience, like watching a bull refuse to charge when a matador waves a cape in front of it. For years, the Knicks believed free spending in free agency was the only way to build a winner, and they cycled through coaches and front-office execs accordingly.
Fiscal responsibility? That was for small markets that didn’t have the gravitas of New York.