GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Glen Grunwald said he would be creative with his moves in an effort to improve the Knicks' chances of winning a championship. But the Knicks general manager added the core likely would stay together.
The Knicks are over the salary cap and luxury-tax apron, so it's virtually impossible to acquire someone via a sign-and-trade. In other words, the Knicks won't be in the running for All-Star Chris Paul this summer.
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But the Knicks also will have difficulty moving some of their own high-priced players, particularly Amar'e Stoudemire, who is owed $45 million over two years, had two knee surgeries this season and may be on a minutes restriction in 2013-14.
"We've got some ideas on what we can do," Grunwald said on Tuesday. "We have to be aggressive and creative in terms of our approach to this offseason, not only just in terms of players, but also in getting our existing players better. I think that's going to be a focus of what our coaching staff and training staff will be doing this offseason.
"I think it's best in general for us to maintain some continuity, the same group, the same core group together."
The Knicks may have no other choice but to build from within based on the cap rules and the structure of some of their contracts.
The Knicks can pay Smith as much as the average NBA salary, roughly $5 million per year. It's expected Smith will be back, but if he opts out and gets more elsewhere, the Knicks can't do much. Beyond that, they have the $3.1 million mini-midlevel -- they can spread that over multiple contracts -- and minimum salaries.
The Knicks can use their free agents in sign-and-trades with other teams. They have the No. 24 pick in the NBA draft on June 27, but making trades likely will be the best way for the Knicks to improve, with everyone not named Carmelo Anthony probably available.
"I'm disappointed in the season, but I'm not at all discouraged about this team," Grunwald said. "I'm very excited about the future. We've got some work to do. We're not where we want to be. We're going to do all we can to get where we want to go."
Grunwald and Mike Woodson were very positive about the season and about what lies ahead.
"This was a great season for our team, I don't care how you slice it and dice it," the coach said. "This is the first time we assembled the team. I thought we made a major step. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely, across the board there is."
After Tyson Chandler and Iman Shumpert were critical of the offense on Monday, Woodson said he would see how he can make it less predictable and more diversified. He also said he wants Stoudemire to continue working on his post play, and for Chandler to develop more of an offensive game.
"I'm going to have to probably design some different things," Woodson said. "The bottom line is -- I don't care what you design -- you got to put the ball in the hole. Certain guys that we depended on they just didn't get it done.
"We got to evaluate that, and hopefully a year from now they'll be a lot better, they'll evaluate themselves and they'll come back maybe more hungry about how we played and how we finished the season up. And we'll go from there. But we got to try to get back to this point next season and see if we can get it over the top."