Five questions facing the Knicks this offseason
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1. Will J.R. Smith stay, and stay focused?
Smith is expected to opt out of his contract that pays him $2.93 million next year. Other teams can offer the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year than the Knicks (roughly $5 million annually), but many won't give Smith the freedom Mike Woodson has. Smith may want the big payday, but he also could have cost himself several millions with his unimpressive postseason. He could re-up with the Knicks and have another opt-out after Year 1 and then get the big payday from them next summer, provided he stays productive and out of the gossip pages for his late-night habits.
2. What's Amar'e Stoudemire's role?
The Knicks will try and move him this summer, but with two years and $45 million remaining on his contract they may not find takers for Stoudemire until his deal is expiring. In the meantime, they have to hope Stoudemire can stay healthy and Woodson can figure out a role that's best for him and the Knicks. Stoudemire played well at times off the bench, but he has to be able to work well with Carmelo Anthony because then the Knicks will have a real threat. It may never happen, and ultimately Stoudemire's days in New York could be numbered.
3. What do they do at power forward?
If the Knicks decide that Stoudemire is going to remain a reserve, they have to go out and find a power forward who can score consistently in the post or at least be a threat down there. Playing Anthony at power forward worked in the regular season, but against Indiana the Knicks needed to establish someone inside and they didn't have anyone. Ultimately they relied too heavily on their three-point shooting and when they didn't fall they didn't look like a 54-win team. The Knicks need to become more diversified so everything doesn't fall on Anthony all the time.
4. What changes need to be made?
They need to get younger and more athletic. General manager Glen Grunwald has to get creative because the Knicks have $77 million tied up to eight players. Two are Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby. It's hard to imagine either walking away from guaranteed money, but they could seek buyouts. Kidd had some good moments, but showed his age, especially in the playoffs when he couldn't score. Camby wasn't healthy for most of the season. When he was, he couldn't crack the rotation, not even against the Pacers, who killed the Knicks with their size and on the boards.
5. What moves can be made?
Raymond Felton wasn't as consistent as his first go-around as a Knick, but he was big in their first-round win over Boston. Tyson Chandler was a disappointment for the second straight postseason. Odds are both are back, but if the Knicks can package either - perhaps with Steve Novak, who also disappeared in the playoffs - maybe they can find some pieces they need to get out of the second round. The Knicks will have to address the point guard spot regardless. There are no guarantees Kidd or Pablo Prigioni, who will be a free agent, will return.