Man oh man! The Knicks have had a very busy moratorium period ("moratorium period", rather), with about half a dozen deals (three in the last 24 hours!) ready to be done on Wednesday. I think some of us have gotten a bit flustered with all the transactin', so let's step back for a second to reflect on some of the moves, survey the team, and catalog the few remaining options.
- A hearty farewell to the youngsters departed in the Marcus Camby deal. Josh Harrellson and Jerome Jordan are endearing characters and, I genuinely believe, fine young big men with the potential to be contributors in somebody's rotation somewhere someday. It's difficult for me to accept, but I understand that New York's "window" of opportunity doesn't necessarily accommodate for young, unpolished, hilarious centers. That's some bullshit, but I get it. (See chrive's post for some more Jorts reminiscence.)
- Replacing those big men-- who, on the current roster, were Tyson Chandler's primary back-ups-- is Camby. He's 38 years old and a perpetual injury risk (though he played in 59 games last season, not 19. Remembering how to read a player's career log like a grown-up has made my outlook much sunnier), but it's clear where he fits. The Knicks were a mediocre rebounding team last season and had very little interior defense when Tyson Chandler stepped off the floor. Camby is a fine interior defender and led the entire league in total rebound rate last season for the third consecutive year. The league's most efficient rebounder is not a bad person to have coming off your bench.
- Toney Douglas gets his own farewell. I was considering putting up a whole thread for him, but I worry that people will just use it to trash the guy. It would be understandable, especially for people new to the team. Toney had about as sorry a season as one can have. That said, I hope some of us remember the good ol' days when he was one of the lone bright spots on the miserable '09-'10 team and when he caught fire near the end of '10-'11. The guy never had (and doesn't have, I think) the makings of a starting guard at either position (though I'm sure I said otherwise at some point), but he does have a decent jump shot, the will and energy to play defense, and enough of a handle to avoid disaster. We saw none of the above last season, but it's in there. This is also in there:
Yeap. Toney Douglas-- by all accounts one of the humbler, more low-key athletes out there-- occasionally speaks in third-person. It's part of what made him a P&T legend, and it's the kind of thing that helped get us through a 29-53 season. Be well, Toney. May you rediscover your ability to DWTDD in Houston and beyond.
- Everybody has said this, but J.R. Smith, even with all his J.R. Smith-iness, is soooooo worth $2.8 million this year, especially with Shump hurt. That's a critical pick-up.
- Even as a person who's always loved Baron Davis and loathed Jason Kidd, I can acknowledge that Jason Kidd is almost definitely an improvement over Baron Davis.
- Now what? Assuming that Kidd will be signed for the mini-MLE and that Landry Fields's offer sheet will not be matched, the Knicks need to find a third-string shooting guard (second-string in the Shump-less era). A sign-and-trade using Dan Gadzuric's 1.4 million non-guaranteed dollars (with an extra million or so in cash as incentive) is an option, as is a signing for the veteran's minimum. I'm pretty confident that the Knicks can find someone decent, even at that price. Our friend sagecoll listed and compared a few of the more popular possibilities. Most of those guys are looking for more than the veteran's minimum, but you never know. As Alan Hahn's been saying, it would behoove the Knicks to be patient with those minimum contracts. A number of guys will strike out on getting more substantial deals and might settle for a likely rotation spot on a probably pretty good team ("The 2012-2013 New York Knicks: Probably Pretty Good!") later in the summer. This includes players who will be released by their teams in the near future to make room for other signings (one example, though not necessarily the best one: Martell Webster might be out in Minnesota). My goal for the Knicks would be to find a back-up guard who is either an above-average shooter, an above-average defender, or about average at both. From the look of things, New York can find a guy like that at the price they want if they just prowl and wait, like a tiger thirsty for the blood of affordable free agent wings.
- By the way, the Knicks don't have the bi-annual exception to use, in case you were wondering.
- Meanwhile, the Summer League team ("Bros and Sons") isn't exactly flush with talent, but some of those guards-- Mychel Thompson comes to mind-- might have an outside shot at a roster spot. I guess the Knicks need some big men now, too. That squad is also short three guys now, so perhaps the Knicks will fill it out with their needs in mind.
- I haven't read anything to suggest that Jared Jeffries has any intention of signing anywhere other than New York once he returns from harpooning lampreys or whatever he's doing these days. We'll see about that one.
- Thanks, Kenneth Dam.
- For those of you looking way into the future, here's a quick summary of all the picks the Knicks don't have over the next few years.
So, once tomorrow rolls around and the Knicks can actually finalize all these moves, they'll have a nearly full rotation, with the biggest bench needs at the two and four. They have the ability to make a small sign-and-trade and the option to wait and see if some other decent free agents stay free long enough to settle for minimum contracts. It's been a modest but straightforward and productive summer so far, I think. (I await some massive, team-exploding move in the near future.)