What’s the worst-case scenario for the Knicks?

New York Post columnist Peter Vecsey isn’t optimistic about the Knicks’ chances in free agency, and he’s not afraid to say so.

Shows what kind of jagged competition the Knicks are in for this summer when the free-agent grab bag unties. If LeBron James isn’t game to accept almost half of their $33 million surplus, you can kiss off Dwyane Wade, too.

Where will that leave the Knicks? Chris Bosh is next in line. As good as he is, he has not been good enough to take the Raptors anywhere worthwhile (two first rounds) in this, his seventh season. He is better defensively than David Lee, but across the stats sheet, there’s not a discernable difference, and Toronto might get best of that deal. Bosh is a perfect Poncho to Cisco in Miami.

Vescey goes on to predict that Joe Johnson will re-up in Atlanta, that Amare Stoudemire and Mike D’Antoni wouldn’t click, that the Grizzlies will match any offer for Rudy Gay, and that the Knicks would be “lucky” to get Carlos Boozer.

In the final analysis, the Knicks may have to “settle for” re-signing Lee. Something they had better do as soon after July 1 as possible . . . before the Nets lock him up and he becomes a perennial All-Star alongside Brook Lopez . . . and they are stuck adopting unadoptable free agents.

I’m not as down on the Knicks’ chances of striking gold as Vescey seems to be. Let’s not forget that they play at Madison Square Garden in the media capital of the world and that they’re coached by Mike D’Antoni who plays an up-tempo system that players seem to love.

I could see the Knicks being in a situation where they’re hoping Memphis doesn’t match their offer for Rudy Gay and praying that David Lee is willing to come back after all the Knicks have put him through. I can also see a scenario where LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all take a bit less money to play for a title year in and year out in NYC. There’s no team that has a greater upside/downside as the Knicks this summer.

Let’s assume LeBron sticks in Cleveland and Wade stays in Miami. The next best duo would be Joe Johnson and Chris Bosh. Not bad. Let’s say Bosh goes to the Heat, then the Knicks could get Johnson and Stoudemire (or Boozer). Again, not bad. What if Johnson sticks in Atlanta or bolts to the Bulls, Clippers or Nets? Then, the Knicks are looking at Gay and Stoudemire/Boozer. Could be worse.

The funny thing is that while the Knicks are waiting on Bosh/Stoudemire/Boozer, someone (like the Nets, as Vescey said) could swoop in and snatch up Lee.

Is it a bad thing that I’m more excited about free agency than I am the postseason?


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