In my day-to-day life, I work in software quality assurance. I once asked a co-worker what the ramifications would be if a certain change were made. His response: "it could have little or no - or dire - effect." That line reminds me of what the Knicks have been doing the last couple of years in general and the last couple of weeks in particular.
It's been assumed for as long as I can remember that the Knicks were going to make a run at LeBron James in the summer of 2010, and because it's New York and not, well, Cleveland, LeBron will surely want to go. And if they don't get LeBron (or even if they do), they'll make a run at the other hot free agents, namely Dwyane Wade, Amare Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, and others. After Thursday's trade for Tracy McGrady, they're now in the position to offer two max contracts.
There's only one problem.
The Knicks are really really bad.
Now, I realize the Celtics were pretty bad right before they picked up Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in one offseason - and they immediately won the title, but there has been a stink on the Knicks for years that can't be removed with anything less than LeBron and one of the other big free agents. LeBron by himself is amazing, but he's not going to win if his best teammate is David Lee. The Knicks are gambling that they can beat all comers because they're in the Big Apple, but what happens if they don't?
Will the Knicks ever get better?
My gut feeling is that LeBron and Wade stay put, which means the Knicks go after the lesser lights, and with LeBron not in the picture, those other guys might be feeling that Chicago is a better destination, or that the Nets or Clippers (don't laugh) are in better shape. What if the Knicks get shut out?
I know, I know...it's not going to happen. The Knicks are the Knicks and they'll make it work somehow, but that one first domino - LeBron James - is going to set plenty into motion that could ultimately result in a 60-loss season for New York next year.
Of course, if they get LeBron and then New York suddenly becomes a trendy place to sacrifice a paycheck (T-Mac has already said he'll play for next to nothing next year if the Knicks stock up), they could easily win 60. One really cool scenario in my head that is probably illegal is that LeBron, Wade, and all the other biggies get together and say "let's sign cheap one-year contracts and all go play for one team and try to go 82-0. Then we'll freak out the league again next offseason and sign our big contracts then. Come on...we're all still young!" Are you saying you wouldn't tune in every time those guys played together?
Anyway, some team with a zillion dollars in cap space is going to get stuck with nothing this offseason. It probably won't be the Knicks, but if it is, well the Rockets are going to love those draft picks they got from New York yesterday.