Knicks keep grasping for answers


NEW YORK -- Even as the Oklahoma City Thunder were blasting the New York Knicks off their own floor Christmas afternoon, the Knicks' decision-makers were plotting a retrofit of the team.

This is good news for Knicks fans because until recently the team's owner felt this was close to a finished product. In a rare interview last month with the New York Post, James Dolan said, "I think this team can win a championship."

The 123-94 loss to the Thunder dropped the Knicks to 9-19 and 4-11 at home, an unpleasant fact that makes it hard to project a significant turnaround even if the Knicks are ever able to get healthy this season.

It has led to a reality check.

Even from Carmelo Anthony himself, who told NBA TV in an interview this week: "When I first got to New York, I always told myself it would be a three- to three-and-a-half-year plan just to rebuild. I knew we took a step backward as an organization for me to get here. So we had to rebuild."

Needless to say, that's quite the change of tune following last season's 54 victories. Now the franchise player is tossing around the "R" word.

If Anthony was so convinced the Knicks needed three and a half seasons to recover from the trade they executed to get him, why did he sign a contract that guaranteed he'd play only three full seasons in New York? Why was the team assembled last season the oldest in the history of the league if it was part of a rebuild?

Let's leave that alone for the moment because you don't need to forensically examine quotes to prove the case that the previous grand plan didn't mature. So on to the next grand plan!

Naturally, the Knicks are thinking very big when it comes to their coming makeover. That facet, however, should make Knicks fans nervous.

"They're one confident bunch," a league executive said this week. "To listen to them, they expect to have Carmelo re-signed and have another star with him in another year. They're so sure about it you'd think they already know what will happen."

Thinking big and whiffing big has been a Knicks problem for more than a decade now as Dolan and a procession of executives have chased huge and expensive names only to miss out on top targets or overpay both in money and in trades for players who aren't ultimately difference-makers.

Thinking small, slow and being measured, like the Thunder team that smashed the Knicks thanks to fantastic performances from four young players they've drafted and nurtured over the past six years, is not what the Knicks do.

And it looks like they're plotting to do it again.

Even as there has been growing speculation with Anthony's future, the Knicks seem to be quite sure he's going nowhere. And they've already got his help lined up.

According to league sources, the Knicks' first prong is to try to attract the Celtics' Rajon Rondo. This idea has been tossed around in various forms for a while now, it's not shocking. But the way the Knicks are hoping to get Rondo is a little unusual.

It's not in free agency in 2015 but later this season or next summer when he comes back from a torn ACL. The Knicks are hoping Rondo will be interested in making a maneuver similar to what Anthony did back in 2011 and eventually try to force a trade to the Knicks, sources said.

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