The mass delusion that defined the pursuit for LeBron James has given way to a cold shower of recriminations and backup plans for the Knicks. Two days after LeBron's made-for-TV special "The Decision," next years' Knicks team is starting to take shape.
First, the Knicks waved goodbye to fan favorite David Lee, who they sent to the Golden State Warriors yesterday in a sign-and-trade that brought forwards Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azubuike and Ronny Turiaf, as well as a 2012 second round draft pick, to the club. Lee averaged career highs of 20.9 points and 11.7 rebounds last season, but there was no chance of the team signing him after they acquired Amare Stoudemire, who plays the same position as Lee.
The Knicks then came to agreement with former Charlotte Bobcat Raymond Felton, who will become the team's starting point guard next season. He has career averages of 13.3 points, 6.4 assists and 1.4 steals per game, and seems like a definite upgrade over Chris Duhon. Once Felton officially signs, the Knicks will have ten players under contract, and there is unlikely to be any more splashy moves: "I think we're done as far as jumping into the free-agent market. We will have flexibility next year and we will have flexibility the year after," said GM Donnie Walsh. The plan for next year may be to try to lure Carmelo Anthony with a max contract.
Rumors of retirement have followed Walsh around since before the LeBron fiasco, but have intensified in recent days. On Friday, Walsh denied a report that he would resign within a week for health reasons and in the wake of failing to sign James. The News even suggested that Isiah Thomas might step in as GM. Still, things are much better in Knick-land than in Nets-ville, where Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov and Jay-Z have so far been unable to land a single big free agent.