The Knicks' free agent pursuits probably won't end today, but there is a decent chance that they make some progress and fill another seat on the bench. Target number one, Shawne Williams, is reportedly deciding between the Knicks and the Nets. New York, as expected, is now offering their "room" exception for $5 million over two years. Unfortunately, the Nets have a bit more to dangle. From Marce Berman:
However, Williams appeared to be more intrigued last night by a bid from the Nets, who are under the salary cap and could pay him more than the Knicks. The Nets could also make Williams their starting small forward.
Williams’ agent, Happy Walters, denied an ESPN 1050 report that Williams agreed to terms with the Nets, saying he was still "undecided’’ and the decision would be made today.
So, the Nets should have the edge in dollars and minutes, while the Knicks must be somewhat appealing because they're familiar and likely to be the better of the two teams. They're also pretty shallow behind Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, so there is a clear rotation spot for Shawne. Without Extra E, the first guy off the bench who makes sense as a swing three-four is Jared Jeffries...which just doesn't make sense. Particularly when presented with the (unsurprising) notion that Stoudemire will sit some games out this season, I see plenty of room for poopin'.
Williams likely heard all of the above from Allan Houston, who took him out to dinner last night. So, as was said regarding Jamal Crawford, if the Knicks lose out on Shawne Williams, it will be for lack of funds, not lack of effort. And on that note: Please come back to us, Shawne. We love you so. (Incidentally, this seems like a chance for Houston to prove his worth as an executive, no?)
Free agency target number two is Baron Davis, and that's a chronological ranking, not an assumption that he's any less of a priority than Williams. Davis was amnestied by the Cavaliers last night, and therefore has until Friday night to clear waivers. If he does, the Knicks will offer him a contract at the veteran's minimum which, based on reports from the last week or so, he'd probably accept. Alternatively, if Extra E heads to the Nets and the Knicks don't agree with somebody else, (Maurice Evans, for instance) Davis could get offered the "room" (not a room, THE room).
Unless somebody's deliberately releasing misinformation about his back injury, (which is possible, but not my sense of the matter) Davis would miss the first couple months of the season. At the veteran's minimum, signing and stashing Davis wouldn't bug me. At $5 million over two years, I'd prefer they get somebody ready to play a full season. But that's just me (based on my third-hand evaluation of Davis's prognosis).
Alane Hahn's under the impression (same link as before) that Williams will make a decision this morning. The stuff with Davis should be settled by the weekend. All told, the Knicks could have a complete roster by the time the first preseason game against the Nets tips off on Saturday afternoon. Until then, all we can do is hope and pray and make offerings to the Poop Gods (Flush some dollar bills down the toilet as a symbolic act of devotion to Shawne. If he's willing to take less money so he can remain a Knick, then we should be, too). I'll update when there are updates to be made, y'all.