You’d be really hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t think the New York Knicks were horrific in 2014-15. They had a 17-65 record, which was the second-worst mark in the NBA, and their point differential of -9.3 was the worst in the league.
Despite this, Knicks president Phil Jackson thinks he did a good job. On the surface, this is a crazy statement to make because New York was nothing short of a disaster. But Jackson is looking to the future, and he believes his success came in putting the squad in a position to succeed down the road.
“I did a great job last year, shedding [contracts] to put us in a position where we have this flexibility,” Phil Jackson said Tuesday.
Sure, the Knicks brought on Jose Calderon’s pretty nasty contract; to be fair, Jackson reportedly tried to move him in January. Jackson also made plenty of transactions, most notably waiving Amar’e Stoudemire and Samuel Dalembert, and trading J.R. Smith, Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni, and Iman Shumpert throughout the course of the year.
Between tanking and saving money, the Knicks are actually in a pretty nice position heading into this offseason. New York has the No. 4 pick in Thursday’s draft, which Jackson said there is a “small” chance the team moves approximately $26 million in cap space that it can throw at some of the top free agents available. There’s no guarantee that someone like Marc Gasol, Kawhi Leonard or LaMarcus Aldridge will make their way to the Big Apple, but the squad is at least in a place where it can conceivably bring in a big-name free agent.
Time will eventually tell if Jackson was ultimately successful this season, but to his credit, the Knicks did a pretty admirable job in its quest to build towards the future.