The marquee player is back in the fold, the point guard position has been upgraded, the center has been replaced, backup slash special projects center resigned, project draft picks chosen, and a handy $3,600,000 Traded Player Exception (TPE) acquired. But now the real work begins.
The 2014-15 New York Knicks should be a little better than its previous year’s collection; if only because Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert are able to stay on the court (career game appearance of over 85% for both). New York’s assets available to build on the team are few. Short of a trade, NY only has the Mini Mid-Level Exception (MMLE) of $3.278mm, the before mentioned $3.6mm TPE, and minimum contract offerings. Being over the apron, Also, NY still is unable to perform a sign and trade (S&T) to acquire a free agent.
This offseason will not even pretend to guess what type of player would be considered as an "ideal fit" for the new New York model. Regardless, there are not a lot out improvement options available; just not a lot of "there" out there.
A sampling of names mentioned and/or considered as reasonable fits (many are already off the board since last night).
Possible but not Likely
Shawn Marion (SF) – Not Likely: Huge value addition; but I do not think NY could get him with only the MMLE
Kris Humphries (PF) – Not Likely: Never been a fan of his; but not the worst option if he could be suckered into taking the MMLE for two seasons
Just Some Dudes
Dahntay Jones (SF) – Just a Name: In his one season playing alongside Melo, his defense and nastiness was huge; but that was a number of years ago
Trevor Booker (PF) – Just a Name: Undersized Power Forward; his name has been mentioned as someone NY has interest in. Just a name, not bad, not really good either. Probably worth more than the young veteran’s minimum; but, not worth long money or burning the MMLE on
Jason Smith (C) – Just a Name: A provocative choice… a big with legit skills and size. He cannot stay on the court so there’s a huge element of ‘fool’s gold" tarnishing his luster. Too unreliable to burn the MMLE on
DeJuan Blair (PF) – Too Late: Undersized warrior but he is on his way to Washington; don’t think he would have considered "another" small dollar deal
Richard Jefferson (SF) – Too Late: Never really been a fan of his; but NY has continued to fail in getting a legitimate SF to backup and play alongside Melo. Jefferson did experience a bit of a re-birth last season, playing well and staying on the court; it was just in Utah so no one noticed. Too late though, he’s off the board as of last night, going to Dallas
Bloom Fallen off of the Rose
Elton Brand (PF) – Grant Hill Honorary Song & Dance Rewind: Brand last year did for Atlanta exactly what was needed for NY. Not worth the MMLE and he… again… likely will not accept a minimum deal
Emeka Okafor (C) – Worth a Vet Minimum: If he’s healed enough, he could be worth a "very" no risk veteran minimum deal; but that would be it