Phil Jackson has a long offseason ahead of him. After losing out on Steve Kerr as head coach, the new president of the New York Knicks now has to start from scratch while worrying about things like Carmelo Anthony's return and Tyson Chandler's trade demands. As the NBA offseason if just over a month away, what are the first player moves Jackson is targeting?
According to Adam Zagoria of SNY.TV, Jackson has already told point guard Raymond Felton that he needs to prepare to be traded once July 1 hits. This move is not a surprise to anyone. Felton has failed to live up to expectations after he played well in his first stint in New York. The team gave him a three-year, $10 million contract and the point guard is owed $7.5 million over the next two years. Pair that with off-the-court issues and a Felton deal might be hard to come by.
Felton was on the trade block for most of the season and at times it looked like a guarantee that the Knicks would send him packing. They attempted to deal him to the Los Angeles Clippers, but the team pulled out at the last minute, likely realizing what a mistake it would be. The Knicks will not be able to deal Felton without adding another young asset into the package. The team will likely be forced to include either Iman Shumpert or Tim Hardaway Jr if they want Felton gone. Shumpert has also faced numerous trade rumors and he is the better option to give up over the potential young star in Hardaway.
So who replaces Felton? The Knicks are reportedly heavily interested in getting Kyle Lowry away from Toronto. The team has been interested in the point guard for some time now and even tried to grab him in a trade mid-season last year. The Raptors have made Lowry their priority this offseason, but the point guard could be swayed to join a large-market team with his new-found fame. He made hints of a return to Toronto after the team lost in the playoffs, but pairing with Anthony might change his mind.
Of course the long-shot option is Rajon Rondo. According to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, the Knicks have tried multiple times to trade for the Boston Celtics point guard, but have failed to pull off the deal. If the Celtics start to get the feeling that Rondo has no plans to return after his contract, they will seek a trade immediately. Anthony wants nothing more than for Rondo to join up with him in New York which would make plenty of fans happy.