The NBA "offseason" will kick off on December 9th, but there's no reason to take off work so you can host a party for your fellow Knick fans that day.
Anything the Knicks do between now and the start of the season is going to be on the mellow side of things as opposed to the 'Melo side of things. Preserving cap space for Chris Paul is the order of the day, which means a lot of one-year deals for players who will round out the roster around the holdovers from last year.
It has been a while since we've actually watched the Knicks play basketball, so a reminder of just who those holdovers are might be a good idea.
Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Landry Fields, Toney Douglas, Ronny Turiaf, Billy Walker, amnesty candidate Renaldo Balkman and Andy Rautins are all back, while this year's draft picks Iman Shumpert and Josh "Jorts" Harrellson (and maybe 2010 second rounder Jerome Jordan) need to sign contracts.
With all of those players already under contract, the Knicks are already over the salary cap so their only chance of signing a free agent of any significance would be to use the mid-level exception. That would mean a contract of several years, though, and the Knicks can't do that while also keeping the door open for Paul.
Since he keeps coming up, it seems like a good moment to point out something about the Hornets point guard. We'll all be sick of Paul talk sooner rather than later, but it seems to be coming from as real a place as the Anthony talk last year and, if anything, the fact that he plays for a ward of the NBA state seems to make it even likelier that he's leaving for another team before signing another contract.
How he'll leave is still a bit up in the air, but New York seems like a pretty likely destination. Many twists and turns remain, but the lesson of Donnie Walsh's time seems to be that the Knicks aren't going to sacrifice their shot at a good player just for a little short-term relief.
So expect to hear about the Knicks kicking the tires on Kwame Brown, Tony Battie and other underwhelming big men to bolster the interior. Our vote would go for a reunion with Kurt Thomas if it is at all possible, although there figure to be plenty of other suitors for someone with his resume.
If teams take advantage of the amnesty rule, there could be some other interesting names out there willing to come to play with the Knicks for cheap. We'll wait to see how that plays out, although the thought of a flier on Brandon Roy, should the Blazers kick him loose, isn't one that fills you with dread.
There's also a good chance that some of last year's Knicks that are currently free agents will return. Shawne Williams, Roger Mason, Anthony Carter and Derrick Brown make varying amounts of sense.
If Williams comes back, let's all hope that Mike D'Antoni doesn't mistake him for a defensive center once again especially since the team now has noted defensive specialist Mike Woodson on the bench.
Sarcasm should be noted in that last line, because the Knicks aren't going to look much different this season no matter what changes they make. They are going to be an iffy defensive team that can score a lot of points, just as they were last year and just as they are likely to remain as long as D'Antoni runs the team and the roster is constructed piecemeal with a close eye on the cap.
Both those things might well change after this season, but, for now, the new Knicks figure to look a lot like the one we saw last Spring. The big difference for this year was supposed to be a full year and offseason for Anthony and Stoudemire to gel, but that got wiped out by the lockout.
So the can gets kicked a little further down the road and, as always, tomorrow looks a little bit better than today. At least we're used to it by now.