All of the activity before Thursday's NBA trade deadline was dizzying. Thirty-nine players were dealt, 11 draft picks were moved and 17 teams took part.
The Knicks were one of them. But team president Phil Jackson didn't do much -- and couldn't do much -- on a day when 13 point guards were traded, including four who could have helped the Knicks' rebuilding efforts and enabled them to do some of their summer work early.
Goran Dragic ended up with the Heat. Reggie Jackson is a Piston now. Brandon Knight went to the Suns. The Bucks got Michael Carter-Williams. The Knicks tried for Dragic, but they didn't have much of a chance to acquire any of them because of a lack of assets -- players and picks.
That is not all Jackson's fault, but you can make a case that he should have gotten more for Tyson Chandler and for J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert -- three major players on a 54-win team two seasons ago. All three are contributing on contending teams in Dallas and Cleveland.
In the two deals, the Knicks acquired seven players -- only four remain but for how long? -- and three second-round picks. No first-rounders.
You also could debate that Jackson shouldn't have done the deals in the first place, given that Chandler and Shumpert could have gotten the Knicks something at the trade deadline. But Jackson believes he made the best moves he could at that time to improve the chemistry and culture.
The day before the deadline, Jackson acknowledged that there wasn't a lot of interest in Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani. Yet he said, "Surprisingly, we seem to have enough [assets] to cover what we are looking for."
That proved to be as untrue as Jackson's saying the Knicks would be a playoff team this season.
In the end, Jackson made a minor deal, sending Pablo Prigioni to Houston for the Rockets' 2017 and 2019 second-round picks and Alexey Shved. They added two assets and cleared about $300,000 in payroll for next season.
"We made the moves that were available to us to make to keep us in line with what our goals are going forward," Derek Fisher said. "We obviously know what kind of summer we're potentially able to have this year and next year."
Dragic will be a free agent this summer; Jackson and Knight will be restricted. Dragic can get the most from the Heat, so many believe he will re-sign there. If the Knicks pursue Jackson or Knight, they probably will have to be creative in structuring a deal to make it difficult for the teams to match.
The Knicks need to be smart with their money because they need help at every position and still want room to add marquee players in 2016. Right now, money is their greatest asset.
Former Bulls GM Jerry Krause, Jackson's old boss and sparring partner in the latter years of Chicago's dynasty, didn't paint a good picture of his former coach in an interview with ESPN New York.
Krause told the website that Jackson's reported salary of $12 million per year is "overwhelming" and why he's running the Knicks now.
"Phil didn't take the job because he thought he had a playoff club," Krause said. "He took the job for the money."
Jackson hasn't spoken to the media since the story was published.
Almost every All-Star who will be a free agent this summer or next spoke highly about Madison Square Garden, New York, Jackson and the triangle during All-Star Weekend.
That doesn't mean the Knicks are signing all of them or any of them, for that matter. But LeBron James definitely got some hopes up when he said, "If I could have 82 regular-season games in the Garden, I would, because it's the Mecca of basketball."
James passed on a chance to sign with the Knicks in 2010. He can be free again this summer and next. But if James left Cleveland, it would undo all the goodwill he received for going home -- except in New York.
No moves needed
The top three teams in the East (Atlanta, Toronto and Chicago) and top two in the West (Golden State and Memphis) stood pat at the deadline. The Cavs made their big changes in January when they acquired Smith and Shumpert from the Knicks and Timofey Mozgov from Denver.
"We can win a championship with this roster," James said.
In late December, James said, "We're not that good right now" and "we're nowhere near championship ball." But the Cavaliers' recent play -- they're 15-2 in their last 17 games -- has James feeling confident.
The former Knicks have fit in well with Cleveland and give them more firepower and depth for what could be a long playoff run. The Cavs are 15-6 with Smith and 11-2 since Shumpert returned from a shoulder injury.
The Thunder, Heat and Trail Blazers were the winners at the trade deadline.
Oklahoma City added a big man who can score inside in Enes Kanter, a major upgrade over Kendrick Perkins, and plenty of depth -- D.J. Augustin, Kyle Singler and sharpshooter Steve Novak, a former Knick. The Thunder also rid itself of a malcontent in Reggie Jackson, who didn't want to be there and reportedly wasn't popular in the locker room.
The Trail Blazers secured Arron Afflalo from Denver, giving them more defense and versatility on the wing
Miami needed a point guard and acquired the best one available in Dragic. The Heat also has the inside track to re-sign Dragic this summer.
Since December, the Celtics have made seven trades and in the process acquired three first-round picks and two seconds. Boston has the assets to be active again after the season and in free agency.
The 76ers keep tearing down and stockpiling picks, although some of their deals and choices are puzzling. They've landed two first-round picks and three second-rounders in five deals since December. The 76ers apparently have a plan, or so we've heard.