Cruel, Cruel Summer: Our Free Agent Options at Power Forward

Now I know what you're all thinking: "Wait a second, our best player is a power forward!" Correct. However, this column is going to operate under the assumption that the five players we are virtually guaranteed to have under contract next year (Douglas, Walker, Chandler, Gallinari, Curry), are the only current Knicks who will be re-contracted. The purpose of this mentality is simple; to assume David Lee, Sergio Rodriguez, etc. are coming back truly destroys the concept of this column. With that in mind, let's look at our options at the four-spot this summer.

We are going to share criteria in this column with my previous column regarding centres (Shout out to all my UK salamandaz!). To refresh your mammary:

Henceforth it is declared!

- No player shall be over the ripe age of 33!

- No player shall be full-blown terrible at defense!

- No player shall be horrible offensively as to present a detriment to the overall goal of winning basketball games against opponents!

- No player shall be named "Collins"!

 

Alright, now let's start the show!

            [Before we do, however, I would like to issue a disclaimer. I know with absolute conviction that there will be clamoring for sign-and-trade proposals for different fellas not included within this article. I see the possibilities too; trust me. This column is just about 2010 free agents, but that should not discourage you from bouncing off ideas in the comments about potential sign-and-trades. Just saying.]

Restricted

-         Marcus Landry (24)

-         Tyrus Thomas (23)

-         Jawad Williams (27)

-         Chris Hunter (25)

-         Anthony Tolliver (24)

-         Luis Scola (29)

-         Josh Boone (25)

-         Jon Brockman (23)

Note: I chose not to include Carl Landry of the Sacramento Kings because he is essentially guaranteed to have his contract picked up next year. Even if the worst case scenario were to happen, let's say he blows out both of his ACLs and knees and nipples simultaneously, they would still pick him up to have first dibs on him later in the year. Moving on.

Unrestricted

-         Brian Scalabrine (32)

-         Shelden Williams (26)

-         Hakim Warrick (27)

-         Leon Powe (26)

-         Drew Gooden [(28) Yeah, I thought he was 40 too]

-         Craig Smith (26)

-         Josh Powell (27)

-         Udonis Haslem (29)

-         Kris Humphries (25)

-         Ike Diogu (26)

-         David Lee*

-         Al Harrington (30)

-         Matt Barnes (30)

-         Louis Amundson (27)

-         Channing Frye (26)

-         Amare Stoudemire*

-         Sean May (25)

-         Matt Bonner (29)

-         Chris Bosh*

-         Amir Johnson (22)

-         Carlos Boozer*

-         James Singleton (28)

*You're damn right I'm going to write a separate column comparing and contrasting David Lee, Amare Stoudemire, Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer!

 

Let's narrow down this list. I mean, to be serious, some of these guys are never going to make it, and I feel as though it is my job to subjectively decide their ultimate NBA fate right here and now. It's like playing God on the smallest possible level.

The new list!

-         Hakim Warrick

-         Leon Powe

-         Drew Gooden

-         Craig Smith

-         Josh Powell

-         Udonis Haslem

-         Al Harrington

-         Matt Barnes

-         Louis Amundson

-         Channing Frye

-         Sean May

-         Amir Johnson

-         Marcus Landry

-         Tyrus Thomas

-         Jawad Williams

-         Luis Scola

-         Josh Boone

-         Jon Brockman

Nineteen names is a lot to cover, but I feel as though we should break them up into two groups:

  1. What You See is What You Get!
  2. Potentialists!

Before I do, another public service announcement (brought to you by neither Slim Shady nor the good folks at Rock-a-Fella Records).

I understand fully that one of the four names not about to be scouted (so Lee, Bosh, Stoudemire, Boozer) is 99% probable to be on the Knicks next year, particularly Lee or Bosh. As a result, each of the following players would likely play a backup role. I'm alright with this; I still like scouting the other guys, particularly those from the second group.

What You See is What You Get!

-         Hakim Warrick

-         Drew Gooden

-         Josh Powell

-         Udonis Haslem

-         Al Harrington

-         Matt Barnes

-         Louis Amundson

-         Jawad Williams

-         Luis Scola

Potentialists!

-         Leon Powe

-         Craig Smith

-         Channing Frye

-         Sean May

-         Amir Johnson

-         Marcus Landry

-         Tyrus Thomas

-         Josh Boone

-         Jon Brockman

Pretty damn even split if you ask me; 18 names split 9/9. Now what does all this shit mean?

Simply put, the first group is not going to improve, barring miraculous activity. Can their numbers go up? With playing time, sure they can. But they are unlikely to significantly improve as players. In no way should be construed as a knock on any of these players; they are sufficient and sometimes excellent at what they do. The point is, hence the name;

What You See is What You Get!

Hakim Warrick: 27 years old, 370 games wear ‘n' tear, 6'9"

            Warrick has been an entertaining player since his days at Syracuse. He has excellent athleticism and can be seen on youtube.com (including this top 10 reel. If anyone can tell me specifically what the music is from, we can be best friends forever.) dunking on people on a whim. The guy has hops for days, but does not always know how to use them. He doesn't have the greatest rebound rate for a guy with his ability, and he's not the best of shot-blockers either. What he gives you is a capable wing scorer who will shoot about 50% from the floor. He's not the greatest defender due in large part to his slender frame, but he has never been accused of laziness at that end.

Drew Gooden: 28 years old, 570 games wear ‘n' tear, 6'10"

            Well what do you know; the guy isn't over 100 years old! Playing for an astounding eight teams before his 29th birthday, Drew Gooden is a seasoned vet among vicenarians. Let's go over what we already know: Gooden can defend the post when he's motivated, he can score over smaller players and bang with big ones (pause) when motivated, he can play off the ball when motivated, and he can rebound the SHIT out of a basketball when motivated. Sensing what I'm getting at here? This guy never seems to want to play his role and almost never does what Toney Douglas do. He is more of a sleeper-sleeper whereas someone like Tim Thomas is an obvious sleeper (not to be confused with Tracy McGrady, who is a serial sleeper). If you didn't notice, I'm using "sleeper" literally.

            What more can I say? We've all seen him play; we've all seen him add to a rotation's value and we've all seen him underachieve. What a long explanation for someone we've all seen before.

Josh Powell: 27 years old, 249 games wear ‘n' tear, 6'9"

            Powell can shoot a midrange jumper and can defend big dudes, but I haven't really seen him do anything terribly impressive while watching the 2,000,000,000,000 nationally televised Lakers games over the past few years. What I know is that Kobe Bryant loves the guy (pause), and he gives a hunderd'n'tan perssant! I've witnessed him can bunches of jumpers and go on rebounding streaks where he mutilates opponents for stretches of 4-6 minutes. He's not particularly fast and isn't a great transition player. He's an alright dunker. What you see is what you get.

            I'll leave you with this: Here at Posting & Toasting, you either value effort or you pack your shit and leave.

Udonis Haslem: 29 years old, 506 games wear ‘n' tear, 6'8"

            Big fan of the Udonis. This dude, according to John Hollinger, is one of the more consistent players in the NBA, and I seen that shit as well. He's a made-to-order 10 points and 8 boards. He's got a damn good midrange game but cannot get the ball and break down a defender. He's good at moving off the ball and his pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop game is developed. He's a good defender, particularly of the pick-and-roll, and tries his ass off much in the same way as Josh Powell.

            The guy made $7 million this past season, but I don't think he's worth that on the open market. I believe, if the Knicks can get him for around $5 million a year, he may be worth it. The guy is a warrior any way you look at it, and he's got a nice shiny Championship ring to prove it.

Al Harrington: 30 years old, 793 games wear ‘n' tear, 6'9"

            "When life gives you lemons, you say ‘fuck the lemons' and bail."

Matt Barnes: 30 years old, 432 games wear ‘n' tear, 6'7" (more of a Small Forward, but has spent a lot of time at 4)

            Where is barnesgasm when you need him?

            Little known fact: Matt Barnes spent time in a Knicks uniform during the 05-06 season! He is the very definition of a hard-nosed player, and is often forgotten among those of us who still have wet dreams about the Warriors 2007 playoff oust of the Mavericks. He defends the shit out of whomever you put him on, including shooting guards, small forwards, power forwards, women, children, pickle jars, mako sharks and maximum-security penitentiaries. He has dunked on people and taken them out for ice cream later as a sign of good faith, only to dunk his ice cream onto them before driving away laughing and smoking crack. Matt Barnes once took a charge from his own shadow. Matt Barnes's happy thought is anguish. Dumbledore died because Don Nelson had Harry Potter in instead of Matt Barnes. Most people shoot a baby hook; Matt Barnes shoots a baby. He is super-effective against rock pokemon.

            What more can I say?

Louis Amundson: 27 years old, 169 games wear ‘n' tear, 6'9"

            This guyyyyyyy! Amundson is a poor player in most respects and strangely effective one anyway. He cannot shoot very well, particularly from the stripe, where he is a lifetime -18%. According to the numbers, he's a horrible defensive rebounder, and he records about one assist per year.

            His value is in his energy. When you watch him, you notice that he always moves, always tries, always crashes the boards with reckless abandon and often blocks shots with ferocity. He can defend quicker players based on his outstanding leaping ability and sheer effort. A decent player comparison would be a homeless man's Chris Andersen.

            He could be had on the cheap and has surprisingly few miles on his legs. I would also like to add that he attended UNLV, which is the only school about which I assume every attendee was born and raised in Las Vegas. I don't know why I think such a foolish thing, but it's just how my brain works.

Jawad Williams: 27 years old, 53 games wear ‘n' tear (to be taken with a whole ocean of salt), 6'9"

            Jawad Williams has been playing ball his whole life, traveling overseas, playing with D-League affiliates and finally landing himself in (and out) and out (and in) the NBA, his current stint with Cleveland LeBrons. Williams can do most things in a mediocre fashion and one thing extremely well: cheer from the bench. Although he's started 3 games this season, performing exceedingly well in a couple of them, he is not an NBA starter and the only reason I included him on this list is because he's a rotation player on debatably the best team in basketball. To get minutes in the Cavaliers' front-court is a pretty big deal in and of itself, plus he's not old by any stretch of the imagination, has experience in almost certainly the best locker room in the league, and can play his role nicely. If the Cavs win the title this year, he'll be part of a rare breed of players to win both an NCAA and NBA title, as he played for the 2005 UNC squad, if you can remember.

Luis Scola: 29 years old, 232 games NBA wear ‘n' tear (Much more in his native Argentina), 6'9"

            Scola is on a Rockets team that just beat the Knicks 20 seconds ago as I write this, so I'm not very happy with him right now, but I'll still try to speak as highly of him as I normally would.

            Luis Scola is another dude who's part of a rare breed; he's a "Euro" who isn't a total sissy. I seem to be one of the few who truly appreciate how similar Scola's game is to Kevin McHale's, using post moves and counter-moves with breathtaking effectiveness to get looks that seem as though they're impossibly easy. He has an extremely similar game to David Lee, although Lee's jumper and off-hand are far superior, while Scola's defense wins the battle. He isn't too quick, but he's a hard-nosed player with absolutely awful hair and he can rebound.

            A couple of notes: He popped off earlier this month for a 44 point game on 20-25 shooting. Quick! Name the last person to hit 20 shots in a game! Beats the hell out of me!

            Also, I know a lot of you are going to shy away from his age for good reason, but just keep in mind that his type of game has been known to age very well. Back-to-the-basket players with an arsenal of post moves who aren't seven feet tall can sometimes play (and play well) into their mid-30s.

 

That about does it for all the poor saps (read: millionaires) who have no chance to ever improve at anything, including basketball, cooking, grammar and erotic imagination/role-playing. Too bad for them!

To shift our focus a little bit, let's take a look at some of the younger guys, who range in age from 22 to 26. Unlike the former group, these are guys who I subjectively expect to be better than they currently convey. Some of these guys are simply very young, others haven't had a chance to shine, others have been unfortunate with injuries, while other still may simply have underdeveloped aspects of their games which I think they have a chance to improve. On that note, let's -yze these guys in an anal fashion (get it?).

 

Potentialists!

Leon Powe: 26 years old, 199 games wear ‘n' tear, 6'8"

            Leon Powe, whaddaya know! Leon Powe should probably be disliked by many a Knicks fan due to his highly productive tenure in Boston and the glowing championship ring on his finger. However, for some reason he was my favorite player on that awful, disgusting Boston roster (Broster?) due to the hilarious penchant he had for drawing fouls. I remember watching the Celtics play on TV with my friends a couple of years ago and every time he would get the ball, I would say "Leon Powe is about to get to the line." Sure enough, he would get to the stripe damn near every time he touched a basketball. This tremendous gift made him highly productive in limited minutes, as he is a decent defender in the post despite giving up size and a pretty good rebounder, especially at the offensive end. Plus, any mistakes he made on the court were covered by the two defensive geniuses playing with him (Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins).

            Alas! He was cut down by injury and has had trouble bouncing back, but none more than the usual. He's already made his return this season with little fanfare, but I suspect he'll be back next season with full force, getting his ass hacked in every position possible (pause). It's a virtual guarantee the Cavs resign him, particularly because it'll be for minimum cheddar. Nothing in this world is certain, however, hence his position on this list.

Marcus Landry: 24 years old, 18 games wear ‘n' tear, 6'7"

            Ya'll know me; still the same OG, I just been low-key. Everyone knows Marcus Landry; brother of a bigger, more naturally gifted power forward in the Western Conference who paid Marcus's way to try out for the Knicks late last summer. He was successful, making the roster and sitting on the bench the majority of the year, getting garbage minutes with the likes of Jordan Hill (RIP) and Toney Douglas (Whatever the opposite of RIP is). He was noticed by seemingly no one unaffiliated with Posting & Toasting. His game is mostly well-developed but probably a little to perimeter-oriented. He's middling in almost every aspect except heart, where he excels.

            Because he was the twelfth man on a bad Knicks team this year, it is highly unlikely for him to make a return to Madison Square Garden and potentially unlikely for him to return to the league. This is not to say he can't improve by leaps and bounds, and such a story is not out of the cards, particularly considering his work ethic. We all wish him the best, and with work and some lucky breaks we hope to see his ass back in a Knicks uniform someday (pause).

Channing Frye: 26 years old, 346 games wear ‘n' tear, 6'11"

            Ya'll know me; waaaayyyyy different OG. This dude has been slobbered upon by the media this year for his ability to shoot the ball even though the same media was shitting on him three years ago for not being tough enough to hang in New York. Either way, let's get to the scouting report.

            Channing Frye was drafted by the Knicks in the first round a few years ago by Isiah Thomas and proved to be a silky shooter but soft for a borderline seven-footer. He was shipped to Blazerland for Z-Bo a couple years ago on draft day (I remember where I was at the time I heard, having just gotten home from Pizza Hut in my friend Jim's room. I cheered at the time. Go figure). He played a bench role on the Blazers before being shipped to the Suns, where he resides today as a sharpshooter among the league leaders in three-pointers made.

            To be blunt, Channing Frye is a great, great shooter and not much else. He rebounds like shooting guard, gets bullied in the post and can't get to the rim much better than I can. But he's in this category for a reason. He has massive value as a floor-spreading four and I think, at 26, he has definite upside. He's beefed up considerably since his stint in New York and I'm sure he's got the capability to become a low-post scorer, especially considering his soft hands. I would have said toward the beginning of the season that he's going to be overvalued this offseason, but he has since been relegated to a bench role with the uprising of Robin Lopez, so I think he's more likely to get paid fairly.

Craig Smith: 26 years old, 297 games wear ‘n' tear, 6'7" (250 pounds!)

            This guy is one of my favorites. Craig Smith is a massive homosapien, as listed above, and can only be described as a bull. His best qualities are his workmanlike attitude and a propensity for shooting a high percentage. He is an emotional giant, coming off the bench for three minutes and yelling and screaming anyway, and he deserves more playing time from what I've seen of him. He is the type of guy hometown fans root their asses off for and he would be perfect not only for the Knicks but for P&T. He has debatably the best nickname in the NBA, "Cookie Monster," and personality for miles.

            On more serious notes, the guy is a good scorer and a hard worker. He'll shoot in the high 50s in terms of percentage, he'll grab rebounds if they're around him and he's a willing passer. His defense is suspect from what I hear, although I don't think it's bad enough to restrict him to 16 minutes a night for a shitty Clippers squad.

            Donnie Walsh, sign this 26 year old kid from Inglewood and make him our favorite back-up frontcourt player!

Sean May: 25 years old, 110 games + 340 surgeries wear ‘n' tear, 6'9" (266 pounds!)

            Sean May; whaddaya say?! This is the same dude who played for the Bobcats a few years ago, then got perpetually hurt. He gained a shitload of weight in the process of healing, and I can't really blame him. He was a pretty hefty guy before, but blew up to the high-200s. Wouldn't it be cool if Eddy Curry was "only" 280 pounds?

            Anyway, the guy lost most of the weight and is back to playing form. The cool part about Sean May is that we have no idea what he's going to be like after this summer of getting back into playing form. He was decent for the Robert-Cats a few years back, starting at power forward and logging some of the best minutes on the team. He's got a shooter's touch with range out to about 15 feet. But this is all speculation because I haven't actually witnessed him play basketball since I was a freshman in college. Good rebounder, slow-ish but willing defender, smart player, good college player on a very good team. This guy could turn into a somebody if nursed properly. Why not give him a shot at the minimum?

Amir Johnson: 22 years old, 203 games wear ‘n' tear, 6'9"

            Amir Johnson is a project. He is an outstanding shotblocker and dunks the leather off every basketball in his area code, but can't do much else. He's mad skinny and can't guard the post any better than a Bosh or a Jeffries, but his length makes him helpful. He fouls a lot because of his length too, which compounds his problems in guarding the post, but it does wonders for his pick-and-roll defense.

            Johnson is a damn good rebounder. Johnson is an outrageous shotblocker. Johnson dunks like a MonStar. He has his flaws, but is in this category for a reason; he is 22 fucking years old. This guy has been playing in the NBA since the '05-'06 season and has capabilities GMs dream about. He frustrated the Pistons last year and got traded to Toronto, where he has developed a French accent and his blocks went up at the 125% exchange rate. The guy is directly comparable to Josh Smith and Andrew Bynum in that he has shown flashes but hasn't gotten his shit together. Unfortunately, he's also comparable to dozens of players out of the league now with the same story.

            I say he's worth the gamble for the right price.

Jon Brockman: 23 years old, 44 games wear ‘n' tear, 6'7"

            Jon Brockman is comparable only to a schoolyard bully. He wears a Sacramento Kings jersey and a smile, but he is a wolf in sheep's clothing. He gobbles up children and punches faces so hard they explode before his fist even gets there. He smokes cigarettes not because he enjoys them, but because he feels as though it fits his bullish persona. He goes to games after pounding a case of Steel Reserve.

            On a serious note, he's a rookie and will most likely get picked up again, but I just wanted this space to let you all know how cool he is. He's got a great attitude toward the game and I wish more than anything the Kings would forget to contact his agent before the deadline.

Tyrus Thomas: 23 years old, 271 games wear ‘n' tear, 6'10"

            We all know Tyrus, the tall lanky forward from LSU who the Bulls looked at as their future. He has gotten better and regressed several times throughout his already lengthy career, finally tiring the Bulls of waiting. He went to the Bobcats at the trade deadline and rolled out a la gangbusters the first few games but has since cooled. So what do we know about Tyrus Thomas, a young man the Knicks came within inches of trading for as recently as last month?

            We know Tyrus Thomas is young. He has seemingly been around for awhile, but he is only 23 years old. We know he is a preposterous athlete, blocking, rebounding and dunking with the best of them while fouling out, acting childish and turning the ball over with the worst of them. We know he has a jumpshot. We know he is lacking post moves. We know he is defensively better than anything we have right now in our frontcourt. We know he is a terror in the open court. We know he's tough and we know he's not a finished product.

            What's he worth? You guys tell me. He seems like one of the more likely players on this list to end up with the Knicks.

Josh Boone: 25 years old, 243 games wear ‘n' tear, 6'10"

            I'm sorry if I'm about to offend anyone, but I am too bored with this guy to write anything substantial about him. I just put him in here because it would be dumb of me not to.

 

A few notes!

            I don't know if I mentioned it already, as this column has ballooned to 4,200 words (nine full pages in Microsoft Word, single-spaced), but I didn't include Carl Landry because he's a surefire resign. Although other dudes on this list are in the same boat (Brockman, Powe, Thomas), they're not nearly as likely to be retained as someone as complete as Landry.

            As I said earlier in the behemoth of an article, I'm going to write separately on David Lee, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer. Pretty please don't disregard the players on this list as minutiae, particularly those in the second category.

            Thanks for reading and make sure you stir shit up in the comments.

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