Summer Guidelines

Let's face it. Any team playing in New York doesn't have the time to rebuild. The Yankees landing Modesi and Weaver for a first place team speaks volumes of the attitude that New York embodies: sacrifice the future, win now. James Dolan doesn't know a thing about the orange and blue, but he knows another color all to well, green. He wanted a playoff team and a sellout streak to continue.

So Scott Layden did what he needed to do. He followed the rules that accompany being a general manager and president in New York. He followed in the line of Ernie Grunfeld who traded the once talented John Wallace for super dud, Chris Dudley. He followed the dos and don'ts of New York. So should Knick fans.

Don't blame Scott Layden for everything. He might have handcuffed the Knicks' cap with Eisley, Anderson and Houston, but how about Ward and Larry Johnson? Thank Ernie Grunfeld for that. Do hope the Knicks can land any type of center that can fill the lane and give the Knicks some semblance of a competitive team.

Don't count on Frank Williams starting. As far as anyone is concerned, Williams is a project for the future, and while Layden is listening with one ear to what Williams does in the summer league, the other ear is listening to trade offers and how much free agents Jeff McInnis and Chauncey Billups want. Do hope that Eisley and Ward are gone by the end of the summer. Having three point guards didn't work last season, and it certainly won't work this fall.

Don't expect Antonio McDyess to be Patrick Ewing. He'll command some double teams and even put up some killer numbers on some nights. But remember, he's coming off a season where he only played in 10 games, fewer than even Marcus Camby. Do expect McDyess to at least lift the Knicks out of the lottery and into the first round of the playoffs. Don't expect anything after that with this roster.

Do pay close attention to the Knicks summer team. Lavor Postell is fighting for his job, Williams for a spot in the rotation. Either performance could shape what the Knicks do with Latrell Sprewell and whether they pursue a free agent point guard. But don't expect Postell to be around next year. Not playing behind Sprewell and Anderson.

Do expect the Knicks to overpay for any talent they sign. They've been doing it for the past 10 years, why change now? The list of the overpaid and underachieving is countless (Travis Knight and Clearance Weatherspoon among the names not yet mentioned). Don't expect them to rebuild through youth. It hasn't worked in Chicago and certainly hasn't even come close to working with the Clips.

Do have hope for the summer. Layden was able to do the impossible and land one of the most talented power forwards amidst the chants of ‘fire Layden' and a deadweight roster. A free agent signing isn't far away. The Knicks will almost certainly use their exemption.



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