Before the tip-off of this 2014-15 NBA season, Phil Jackson, the President of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks believed that he assembled a team good enough to qualify for a playoff spot.
That hasn't been the case.
The 5-32 Knicks, fresh off of securing yet another loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night, 105-83 (12 straight), are on pace to challenge the (2012) 7-59, Charlotte Bobcats for the worst record in NBA history.
The climate around the Knicks has become so putrid that change was evident and Jackson initiated operation codename: Blow It Up.
Yesterday evening, the Knicks joined the Oklahoma City Thunder and Cleveland Cavaliers in a three-team deal which expressed the Knicks state of mind, fixated on the future.
The Knicks dealt Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith to the Cavs.
Point Guard/Shooting Guard Iman Shumpert and Shooting Guard J.R. Smith traded by the New York Knicks to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo Credit: NBA
The Cavs sent Dion Waiters to the Thunder while dealing Alex Kirk and Lou Amundson to the Knicks.
Dion Waiters on his way to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a three-way deal involving the Cavs, Knicks, and Thunder. Photo Credit: NBA
Cleveland Cavaliers send Alex Kirk and Lou Amundson to New York Knicks in three-way deal also involving the Oklahoma City Thunder. Photo Credit: NBA
The Thunder shipped Lance Thomas to the Knicks and a protected future first-round pick to the Cavs, who sent their 2019 second-round pick to the Knicks.
Former Oklahoma City Thunder Forward Lance Thomas is on his way to the New York Knicks in a deal which included the Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo Credit: NBA
I will miss what Shumpert brought to this Knicks team on the defensive end of the floor, as well as, his potential as an all-around player.
It needed to go.
All of the players the Knicks received in this trade have non-guaranteed contracts.
It is the season of giving and it seems like the Orange and Blue New York team is the only team that is not participating in the festivities.
With this trade, the Knicks shed the contracts of Smith and Shumpert off the books and waived C Samuel Dalembert, moves which will save the team an excess of $20-million in salary and luxury taxes according to ESPN.com.
It also gives the Knicks $30-million in cap space to offer to free-agents in the upcoming off-season period.
In this trade, the Knicks recognized that this season is a forgone conclusion while the other two trade partners in this deal have the opportunity to reap the benefits of their acquisitions immediately.
The Cavs bolstered their perimeter defense in gaining Iman Shumpert and added a streaky but proven scorer in Smith, who is now in a better environment.
Dion Waiters can help the Thunder offensively despite the logjam at the shooting guard position (Reggie Jackson, Anthony Morrow, Jeremy Lamb even Russell Westbrook).
Although Shumpert is out with a shoulder injury, Smith can come in and provide another scoring option for the inconsistent Cavs who are currently missing Lebron James due to knee and back injuries.
Former New York Knicks point guard/shooting guard Iman Shumpert. Photo Credit: NBA
When Shumpert returns, Kyrie Irving should benefit, as Waiters and his 10.5 points per game and need to have the ball in his hands to make plays for himself and others occasionally, will no longer be an issue.
Shumpert does not need the ball to be effective and adds defense to a team sorely lacking that element after losing big-man Anderson Varejao for the season due to a torn-Achilles.
For Smith, a winning environment is what he needs.
Former New York Knicks forward and Sixth Man of the Year, J.R. Smith. Photo Credit: NBA
The last time Smith was in a situation where winning was a priority, he won the sixth-man of the year award, just saying.
For OKC, I understand the acquisition of bringing in a guy like Waiters to a team whose focal points in Westbrook and Kevin Durant have missed significant time on the court this season but then again I don't.
How will Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks manage his guard situation?
Waiters needs the ball to be effective and so does Westbrook, Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb and Anthony Morrow.
He cannot play these guards and keep everyone happy which means someone may be the odd man out in OKC.
Another reason why this move is questionable is because the Thunder failed to sure up their most important need in a low-post threat.
It's the reason why they targeted Bulls C Pau Gasol this past off-season.
Serge Ibaka is a nice player but prefers to do most of his damage from outside opposed to under the basket.
Kendrick Perkins, enough said.
It seems like this trade was a win for every team involved except the Knicks for various reasons.
Hopefully this move is one of many moves the Knicks will make when they will actually be required to do so from the public at large.
The 2015 free-agency period can't come any quicker can it?
Latest from Gregory Alcala
- Brooklyn Nets Beat Milwaukee Bucks 129-127 in Triple Overtime
- NFL’s Buffalo Bills Striking First, Readying for 2015-16 Season
- Chasing Playoff Spot, Brooklyn Nets Making Moves
- NBA All-Star Saturday Night: Foot Locker Three-Point Contest
- NBA ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT: The Sprite Slam Dunk Contest Rises Again