Howard Beck: ‘MSG, Phil Mystique Are Free Agent Selling Points For Knicks’

All-Star Weekend was a smashing success for the NBA, but was it a smashing success for the New York Knicks?

The Knicks hosted the game at Madison Square Garden, but they’re also a league-worst 10-43; their lone All-Star, Carmelo Anthony, has a bum knee and shot just 6-of-20 from the field for 14 points on Sunday; and, oh yeah, it was freezing cold in New York.

Did this past weekend not bode well for the Knicks in terms of luring free agents this off-season?

“Well, it certainly wasn’t pleasant here,” Bleacher Report NBA insider Howard Beck said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “It was biting – biting cold outside. Look, I don’t think the impressions made over one All-Star weekend are going to matter. What’s going to matter is the presentation you make on July 1 and what you can offer guys at that time.”

The Knicks can offer the allure of playing in Madison Square Garden, for starters.

“It’s got a mystique about it for players,” Beck said. “Not everybody buys into it, but for those who believe in that mystique, who appreciate the history there, that’s a selling point. If you believe in the mystique of Phil Jackson and his track record, that’s a selling point. If you believe in Carmelo Anthony as a star to build around, that’s a selling point. The cap room is there.”

“But where New York’s problem is,” Beck continued, “is not Carmelo being banged up in the present. He’ll be fine, I’m sure, by next season. And it’s not the cold. Everybody knows that New York is going to be a little colder than, say, Miami or L.A. The real challenge for New York for Phil Jackson is what are you selling in terms of near-term success? Because LaMarcus Aldridge is already on a very, very good team in Portland. Marc Gasol is already on a very, very good team in Memphis. And you can go down the list of the top free agents.”

“Carmelo Anthony has now missed the playoffs two years in a row and has been out of the first round in his career twice – and they don’t have a whole lot else on this roster. There’s only a couple other guys who are even under contract for next year.”

Indeed, at this point, the Knicks seem to be pinning their hopes on a monster performance in this year’s draft.

“They’ll have a top-five pick – maybe even top three, maybe even No. 1,” Beck said. “But that guy’s going to be a 19-year-old who’s not going to be ready to win for a couple years. We’ve seen how long it’s taken Anthony Davis to try to get the Pelicans in the playoffs. Anthony Davis might be one of the top five players in the league right now – and they’re still going to miss the playoffs, and he’s (in his) third year.”

“If you’re Phil Jackson, the problem is, what are you selling in terms of near-term success? Who’s the surrounding cast? Because there’s not a whole lot here right now.”

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