Update: The deal is done. Balkman for Jones, Green, and a second round draft pick in 2010. Both players are expected to be cut. Just ignore the speculative parts of the post below. Farewell post for a P&T favorite coming later tonight or tomorrow morning. Prepare your eulogies.
Time to paint this over, eh?
You know it's summertime when you start racking up the post titles ending in question marks. Today's rumor comes from Ken Berger at Newsday, who's got reason to believe that the Knicks have a different way of cutting payroll and roster spots than we previously expected.
The Knicks and Nuggets are discussing a trade that would send 2006 first-round pick Renaldo Balkman to Denver for point guard Taurean Green and small forward Bobby Jones, an NBA front-office source told Newsday last night.
The deal was proposed late last week and is being discussed internally by both clubs, the front-office official familiar with the situation said. If the two-for-one deal goes through, it would leave the Knicks with 17 players under contract, although Green and Jones - who have non-guaranteed contracts - expect to be waived. It would get the Knicks back to the 15-player roster limit and save them Balkman's $1.32 million against the salary cap.
First of all, I would hate to see Balkman go. He's obviously one of my favorite Knicks for several obvious reasons. Humpty's also been nothing short of a hard worker and a great teammate since he's been here. That said, I understand that Coach D'Antoni favors forwards who bring something to the table offensively, particularly from distance. For his career, Balkman is under 20% from three and under 50% from the line, which gives you a little sense of why he might be out the door. Also, with Gallinari, Richardson, and Chandler on the roster, Renaldo just might not have what it takes to earn minutes at the 3 spot.
If this deal were to go down, I'd hope we'd at least give Bobby Jones a shot at training camp. He's a defensive stopper in the ilk of Balkman, but may bring a little more to the table offensively and thereby make a career for himself in D'Antoni's system. Then again, the Knicks may already have plans like those for Wilson Chandler. If both Jones and Green were cut, that would cut the roster back down to 15, meaning there'd be room for a couple of the undesirables we'd been discussing, including Collins, Big Snacks...and Marbury. Interesting.
Anyway, as heartbroken as I would be to see Humpty go, this deal could make some fiscal sense, particularly if D'Antoni doesn't see Balkman as having a role in the new scheme. Renaldo might find Denver a better fit as well, if you know what I'm saying. More on this as a it emerges.