Knicks management is confident it can attract the stars necessary to pull the team out of its malaise, and its first target will be Rajon Rondo, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. The Knicks hope Rondo will become discontent with the Celtics and attempt to force them to trade him to New York sometime between now and 2015, when his contract ends. If they come up short on trading for Rondo, the Knicks think they’ll sign him in free agency or land one or two of the following potential 2015 free agents: LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol, Roy Hibbert, Kevin Love and Tony Parker.
The notion of Rondo joining the Knicks isn’t new, since the point guard’s high school coach claimed earlier this month that fellow former pupil Carmelo Anthony has been trying to recruit Rondo. Anthony pointed out that any such talk could constitute tampering, and both he and Rondo denied that they were discussing the idea of teaming up. It’s not clear how the Knicks could sell Rondo on the notion of pushing for a trade to New York, as Anthony did in 2011, without violating tampering rules. Still, much of the Knicks’ confidence in their future comes from the built-in lure of star-making capital New York, Windhorst writes.
Anthony could leave in free agency himself this summer, and there’s talk that the Knicks may attempt to trade him by the upcoming February 20th deadline if they don’t feel as though they can retain him. Windhorst seems to suggest there’s little chance of that happening, given how certain the Knicks seem about the road ahead. An executive from another team says the Knicks expect to re-sign Anthony and have another star player with him in a year’s time, adding that, “They’re so sure about it you’d think they already know what will happen.”
The same attitude explains why Mike Woodson is still coaching the team, according to Windhorst. The Knicks don’t feel there’s an adequate replacement available during the season, but plenty of intriguing candidates may exist in the summer, Windhorst writes. Having traded their potential lottery pick for 2014, the Knicks may be better off trying to make the playoffs this year with Woodson as coach, the ESPN scribe opines.