The other day, Knicks GM and Philosophy 101 Professor Phil Jackson finally took responsibility for the burning tire fire that has been the 2014-2015 season. That was a welcome change from his previous tactic of trashing his own team via social media during blowout losses and/or calling his players “losers.”
Mercifully, the Knicks will soon be put out of their misery, and the onus will be on Jackson to somehow transform his team into a playoff contender going into next season. Friday, Jackson told ESPN that he’d like to try and rebuild the Knicks via free agency.
“We know what the first-round pick is going to mean for us, but we also know we’re going to build our team with free agents,” Jackson said Thursday morning after the Knicks held shootaround at UCLA before their 101-94 win against the Los Angeles Lakers. “A hundred and ninety players or so are going to be free agents. Not half the league, but like a third of the league is going to be free agents. So that’s where our priority stands.”
The good news is that the Knicks have a top five draft pick to work with this summer as well as a projected $26 million in salary cap space. Jackson and the Knicks have said previously that they’d like to land a big name free agent like Marc Gasol. However, it’s unlikely Gasol would leave the Grizzlies to join a rebuilding project in New York, despite the fact that he told SI.com in January that he’ll listen to all offers before making his decision.
Still, there are other names out there like LaMarcus Aldridge and Rajon Rondo, and Jackson faces a difficult decision as to whether he will hang onto that top five pick and hedge his bets on the draft or trade the pick and land a known commodity.
Nonetheless, Jackson is most likely wildly overestimating the number of big name players chomping at the bit to come to New York after a nightmare of a season.