As a fan, any time things don’t go your way, you often have to assume a glass half-full approach, if only to preserve some semblance of sanity in the long run. Examples of this include how I in July of 2010 rationalized that beating LeBron might be more fun than having LeBron on your team anyway, or how I now feel that the Knicks actually might be better served having Lin/Kidd/Shumpert than Lin/Nash, pointing to Shumpert’s potential and how this setup will define everyone’s role more clearly (with Lin as the obvious starter and Kidd the clear backup). Make no mistake though, the truth is I wanted Nash even if it would have cost us Shumpert, and the reason for this is very simple: WIN NOW.
First of all, constantly hearing things along the lines of “we’ll get better next year, and then the year after that, who knows?” isn’t quite what you’re looking for if you suffered through the near misses of the 90’s and (at least part of) the rebuilding plan of the late 00’s. Secondly, and more importantly, with upwards of 60 million a year committed to 3 players, the Knicks are by default in win now-mode. Whatever makes the team the best it can be over the duration of those contracts has to be done, attempting some sort of middleground where we also develop draft picks and bank on that ever-deceitful word POTENTIAL to give us a better team down the line is flat out stupid. I’d rather be the Celtics (a contender that should never be overlooked) for 3 years and then take my chances, than be the Hawks (a surefire second round exit, no more, sometimes less) for 5 years. Don’t get me wrong, keeping Shumpert is definitely a positive in my opinion, though not because “IN THREE YEARS HE COULD BE AN ALL-STAR!”, but because he’s already proven to be a valuable player, for example in being able to defend the likes of Derrick Rose effectively.
Also, let’s not forget that the more the Knicks can form a true winning culture over the next few years, the more the perception of the franchise will change and the easier it will be to re-tool on the fly, just look at teams like the Lakers and Spurs – they routinely have seemingly no assets outside of their star players and yet they somehow tweak their rosters and remain competitive year after year. The only way to do that is never accepting mediocrity, and for that reason I’m glad that the front office did everything they could to make a move they felt would improve the team significantly right now, regardless of whether it would have looked just as good five years from now or not.