I think it’d be borderline impossible to get Dolan to agree to a full tank because he’s so invested in the MSG brand that empty seats in the stands are not going to cut it for him. I think the best that Knicks fans can hope for now is a Melo trade and a strong resolution to build entirely around Kristaps with younger players with upside, keeping their first-round picks and drafting in the lottery for a couple of years, which would mean breaking the habit of a lifetime and avoiding splurging cap-space on middling veterans.
Trading Melo to Cleveland is tough because unless Cleveland are willing to put Love in the trade the contracts that the Knicks would get back to make the money work are pretty ugly. Assuming that the Cavs rightly would decide against throwing Thompson into the trade, you’re looking at years of JR Smith and Shumpert on overpriced contracts, or Shumpert, Frye, and Jefferson. And the Cavs could only offer their 2022 first because of protections on the 2019 first they owe to Atlanta.
Houston makes much more sense now as the Melo trade destination. Gordon and Ariza and their pick of the year of a Houston first would get it done. Gordon and Ariza would both be a nice fit next to Porzingis and also could presumably be moved fairly easily if the Knicks preferred that move, particularly Ariza on his cheapo expiring.