Carmelo Anthony has been spending more time around the Knicks lately, and was on the court long before Wednesday night's game talking and joking around with his teammates. Help is on the way.
That's the message team president Phil Jackson gave season-ticket holders in an email and video this week. It won't be until next season, but the Knicks have started to reassure their fan base that help is on the way.
"We have a plan in place and we're going to work to make the Knicks great again," Jackson wrote in the email.
Jackson will address season-ticket holders Thursday night in a "Town Hall" setting at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. It's all about the future and has been for a while.
The Knicks, who were edged 100-98 by the Nets Wednesday night for their eighth-straight loss, should have a top four draft pick in June and about $30 million to spend in free agency in July. Anthony will be back from knee surgery. So next year should be better. The Knicks (14-61) already have lost more games than any other season in franchise history.
Part of the plan is to have the flexibility to sign the bigger-named free agents in 2016 when LeBron James and Kevin Durant are expected to be at the head of the class. But if you take Durant at his word, getting him out of Oklahoma City may be difficult.
"I love it here, man. I love my teammates, I love the city, I don't really think about anywhere else," Durant told Revolt TV. "I love staying in the moment, and I'm one of those guys that would love to stick it out with one team my whole career.
"Kobe [Bryant], Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki type. That's awesome," he said. "But you never know what the future holds sometimes and how teams may feel about you after a while, but I love it here and I would love to get my jersey retired here."
Durant recently underwent his third foot surgery this season. There are red flags about his health. But if he regains his old form next season and plays like an MVP, the Knicks will be one of many teams in line for Durant's services.
The Thunder can offer him the most money and GM Sam Presti has been on record saying he hopes to keep him in Oklahoma City. But the Knicks still have to prepare to pursue Durant.
This summer, the name that keeps coming up as a likely target is Detroit's versatile big man Greg Monroe. That name doesn't seem likely to sell tickets, but Jackson has to start building the team one piece at a time.
The draft pick will be another huge piece, as well as how Anthony recovers from knee surgery. Fisher said Anthony has been encouraging his teammates. "I think the interaction has been good," Fisher said. "I think he's been talking to them about things that he's seeing and he's observing, and just continuing to encourage guys to take advantage of the opportunities that they're getting right now."