Once the Knicks finished signing the big-ish contracts (Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo, Derrick Williams, Kyle O'Quinn), the consensus was that they would move on to guys from last year's squad who deserved the chance to play on a team that was at least interested in trying to win, if not actually able to do so. The two names that most often came up in those conversations were Lance Thomas and Lou Amundson. Well, Lance has been taken care of, so it was only a matter of time before Lou re-signed as well. And now we're done waiting:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">As expected, the Knicks and Lou Amundson agreed on a deal. One year, $1.65 million his agent said.</p>— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) <a href="https://twitter.com/Al_Iannazzone/status/619893876359168000">July 11, 2015</a></blockquote>
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Two things about that deal:
- As a 9-year veteran, Lou's minimum salary would be $1,362,897, so this deal, just like Lance's, is not for the veteran's minimum.
- Having spent about $1.6 million on each of Lance and Lou, the Knicks are completely out of cap space, though they still have the room exception of around $2.8 million to spend if they want (maybe on Alexey Shved? I hope not; he's okay, but they can do better). They can also sign minimum contracts.
I'm happy Amundson's returning for a second year. He didn't post eye-popping traditional stats in 41 games with New York last year (6 points, 6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.5 blocks per game), but he wasn't really a detriment on offense and his tenacity on defense was much appreciated. The on/off numbers back that up, too: the Knicks got only 0.4 points per 100 possession worse on offense, but 4.5 points per 100 possessions better on defense, when he was on the court. If the Knicks are serious about building a defensive identity, Lou's a good player to have around.
Personally, I would've held off on signing he and Lance and used the cap space on someone else before signing them both to minimum deals. However, if Phil Jackson wants to show them that he appreciated their contributions last season by using the cap room on them instead, that's fine with me.
The Knicks now have either 12 or 13 players (depending on Ricky Ledo) under contract, so there's still room for a few guys to impress in Summer League (which starts today!) or training camp and earn a spot.