Through the decay and debris of a crumbling infrastructure, chasing the championship parade that never marches, the New York Knicks' recruitment to retain Carmelo Anthony comes with the promise to pursue Kevin Love into the franchise's 2015 salary-cap space.

LeBron James comes free too soon (2014), Kevin Durant too late (2016), and the best, biggest star available to New York has been validating management's wanderlust with an MVP-esque start to the Minnesota Timberwolves' season.

In a lot of ways, the Knicks are pursuing the illusion of a title with Anthony as their centerpiece. Nevertheless, they're unwavering in turning the franchise over to him. The plan had been a three-year window to chase a championship, but it turned into one season – if it was ever that a year ago. New York is pushing toward a fresh scapegoat, coach Mike Woodson, but the Knicks are a combustible blend whose struggles have far less to do with their coaching and far more to do with lousy ownership.

New York is back where it started with 'Melo in 2011, framing a future for him that looks so much better than the present. To re-sign Anthony upon his contract opt-out in July, the Knicks count upon the fact that they can still give him three things no one else can: a five-year, nearly $130 million extension; the bright lights of the Madison Square Garden marquee; and an expedited retooling plan.

Almost assuredly, Love will exercise his early termination option in two years and take a strong look at where the free-agent landscape stands with the T'wolves. He could re-sign a longer, richer deal with Minnesota, or chase big-market platforms in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and perhaps elsewhere.

The Knicks are buried in salary-cap hell through 2014, awaiting Amar'e Stoudemire ($23.4 million), Tyson Chandler ($14.3 million) and Andrea Bargnani ($12 million) to expire. The Knicks are sold on Love in 2015, sources tell Yahoo Sports, and they've already begun devising a strategy to lure him when the time comes.