Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Knicks Working on Roster

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Knicks Working on Roster

Article excerpt

While Carmelo Anthony began the Knicks' summer recruiting pitch, Phil Jackson was in Orlando, Fla., on Wednesday morning overseeing the start of the revamped coaching staff's first practice for the Summer League.

Anthony had begun the wishful thinking portion of free agency, which officially begins Friday, by spending time with Kevin Durant, the prize of free agency and a long shot to land with the Knicks. Gathered with his top front-office staff, Jackson will now embark on a less glamorous, but important, rebuild of the roster.

With a 49-115 record in his two seasons running the Knicks, Jackson made a move from his patient culture building plan by trading for Derrick Rose with an eye toward becoming a playoff team with Anthony still in his prime and using an improved team as a lure to potential free agents.

The Knicks have just five players under contract for the coming season -- Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis and Rose, along with bench pieces Kyle O'Quinn and Justin Holiday. And while they have glaring holes in the starting lineup, Jackson must split the approximately $30 million available under the cap to create a roster that can live up to the promise of the big three at the top.

The Knicks are hoping for an audience with Durant, who is hosting suitors in New York, beginning Friday.

The trade for Rose solved the need for a point guard, bringing aboard the former MVP and saving Jackson and the Knicks from overspending in a limited market at that position. It left a hole at center, but the Knicks could land help there for a reasonable deal - - even in the overheated market spurred by the $24 million jump in the salary cap.

Last summer, Jackson had high hopes for landing one of the top free agents, meeting with Greg Monroe and attempting to get a sit- down with LaMarcus Aldridge. But he wound up spreading the cap space around to O'Quinn, Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams. Afflalo and Williams have opted out of their deals and Lopez was sent to Chicago in the Rose trade. While it would seem that the Knicks could get by with Porzingis at center, moving Anthony to power forward -- a move that would make the team more athletic than with a more plodding center -- Hornacek told reporters Wednesday that center is the priority. …

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