Hey, this was a promising rumor to wake up to:
The Knicks have emerged as the favorite to sign 31-year-old Slovenian point guard Beno Udrih to a $1.27 million minimum contract, according to two sources. An announcement could come as soon as Thursday.
The Knicks will consider it a great value signing since Udrih made $7 million last season, leaving the Knicks long shots to land him. But the market apparently dried up for the left-handed veteran who has played on four teams, including Orlando and Milwaukee last season when he combined for 66 games.
Berman names Memphis (more money to offer than New York) and San Antonio (also down to veteran's minimums, I believe) as other teams courting Udrih, though he mentions them in past tense, which..hey, if Udrih will really choose a minimum deal in New York over those other two, then that's most excellent of him. Beware the Grant Hill Maneuver, I guess, but we're way past the point of the GHM being an effective tactic...right?
I refuse to think too hard about this yet for fear of jinxing it, but I would like this signing quite a bit. Udrih's presence would help Mike Woodson preserve last year's backcourt dynamic if he so pleased: the point-guard tandems, the low turnover rate (Udrih's historically been a bit more turnover-prone than last years Knicks guards, but he's not bad), and the ragged perimeter defense, which is a hallmark of modern Knicks basketball.
And, uh, Udrih would bring harmony to the New York locker room, because Berman keeps saying Andrea Bargnani is only friends with foreign players? So that would be good?
Not getting too into it yet, though. This is not done, and it's not being reported by anyone but Berman and his sources (two of 'em!!!). I will update if I see more.
Update (10:14 AM):
Beno Udrih will sign a one-year deal with the Knicks according to a league source.— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) August 8, 2013
Beno Udrih, I'm told, has canceled today's scheduled face-to-face meeting with Memphis and has decided to take Knicks' offer— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 8, 2013
So, that sounds pretty set. A one-year deal makes sense for Udrih-- allowing him to take another shot at getting paid next season-- while a veteran's minimum signing feels like splendid value for the Knicks. We don't know if Mike Woodson wants to keep playing point guards in tandem, but if he does, Udrih fits that plan quite nicely as a decent-sized guard who can handle, distribute, and shoot a bit (though, as Mike Prada pointed out, his outside accuracy has fluctuated in recent years). Especially for the minimum, Udrih is a solid replacement for Jason Kidd: not much of a defender and not as useful as a rebounder, but still creative, way more likely to make something happen off the dribble, and hopefully more durable. Udrih's also a lefty, so we get to hear Clyde exclaim "southpaw!" almost as frequently as he calls the new guy "Uterus".
Cool. Bring on the hair tonic and pull-up jumpers. Benobenobenobenobenobenobenobeno
Update (3:05 PM):
Agent Marc Cornstein says Beno Udrih wanted to be back on team with chance at title and intrigued by Woodson's multiple PG sets.— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) August 8, 2013
Udrih met with Woodson, Grunwald and Allan Houston on Monday and mapped out his role, Cornstein said.— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) August 8, 2013
A hint at Woodson's game plan for the coming season, or merely a ruse to sell Udrih on signing? STAY TUNED.