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The Knicks: No Longer A Worrying Thing?

A strange feeling appears to be emerging about the New York Knicks: confidence about the team's future.

There are no guarantees about a championship, and even real worries that there will be a league for the Knicks to win next season, given the uncertainties of the collective bargaining agreement. But the Knicks, for the first time in a long time, appear to be putting themselves in the best possible position to win.

The pickup of Chauncey Billups' option for next year made sense for a host of reasons. For one thing, Billups represents the best they are likely to do at the critical point guard position. The free agent class is notably poor at point guard this summer-no Ray Feltons- and even if the Knicks add a strong point guard with the 17th pick in the draft, that means they enter next season with an uncertain rookie at the position. That also means they didn't use that pick to address other needs, such as a sharpshooting wing or size up front.

Billups also doesn't stand in the way should Chris Paul or Deron Williams become available. Should the Knicks deal for Paul, Billups' expiring contract is actually an asset to deal. And post-Carmelo, the team has precious few tradeable assets.

Billups also gives the team a strong pilot for one of the three seasons New York is certain to have Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire under contract. No Billups would have meant punting one of those precious seasons.

Now, if the reports are true, and Donnie Walsh is about to be retained, the future may be brighter than it's been in decades. Already, though, it has been wonderful to experience the Knicks as something other than a worrying thing.