New York Knicks fans might be the most loyal in the league, filling Madison Square Garden season after season despite losses, mismanagement and rotten luck. Coming off the worst season in the long history of one of the NBA's original franchises, those fans could at least take some consolation in the knowledge that the 2014-15 season was finally over and the Knicks had the second-best odds of securing the No. 1 overall pick. Instead, the Knicks wound up with the No. 4 overall pick, the only team lady luck dropped in the NBA draft lottery.
That doesn't mean things won't perk up for New York this summer, though. Phil Jackson still has the fourth pick in what projects to be a draft with four top-tier players. Unlike other teams that were as bad as the Knicks were in 2014-15, New York has a bonafide star in Carmelo Anthony, who may be in the back half of his prime but is in his prime nonetheless. Depending on what happens with their restricted free agents, non-guaranteed contracts and veteran point guard Jose Calderon, Jackson could free up enough cap space to sign two marquee free agents for at or near the max, or sign one and then add another star via the trade market.
Sure, a lot of dominoes have to fall New York's way, but at least the range of possibility is wide. What would a successful Knicks offseason look like?
Like a fantasy adventure game, Jackson's summer starts with a plan, then unfolds according to the choices he makes each step along the way. Here is a blueprint for an offseason to get the Knicks back to contending status.