With the lockout finally on the heels of being lifted, Knick fans can finally look forward to the trades and signings that are part of a typical NBA offseason. Fans are already targeting certain guys and are going to work on ESPN’s trade machine in hopes of upgrading the roster.
Here at The Knicks Wall, we will be hosting a series where we will be profiling potential free agent pickups for the Knicks. However, we thought it to be a good idea to evaluate the roster as it currently stands, before we start. Firstly, lets look at the players that are currently under contract.
- Carmelo Anthony: $18,518,574
- Amar’e Stoudemire: $18,217,705
- Chauncey Billups: $14,200,000
- Ronny Turiaf: $4,360,000
- Renaldo Balkman: $1,675,000
- Toney Douglas: $1,145,640
- Bill Walker: $916,000
- Landry Fields: $788,872
- Andy Rautins: $788,872
Unsigned Draft Picks:
- Iman Shumpert 2011 1st rounder
- Josh Harrellson 2011 2nd rounder
- Jerome Jordan 2010 2nd rounder
Restricted Free Agents:
- Derrick Brown $1,059,293
Currently, the Knicks have only seven players under contract, but hold the rights to Iman Shumpert and Josh “Jorts” Harrellson, who should both be signed as soon as the new CBA is ratified. Additionally, they hold the rights to 2010 second round pick Jerome Jordan, who has been playing very well in Europe and is expected to receive a training camp invite. The Knicks also hold a $1,059,293 team option on Derrick Brown that they will have to make a decision on.
The depth chart at the start of training camp should look something like this, assuming they officially sign Shumpert and Harrellson, as well as re-sign Fields and Rautins.
- Chauncey Billups
- Landry Fields
- Toney Douglas
- Iman Shumpert
- Andy Rautins
- Carmelo Anthony
- Amare Stoudemire
- Bill Walker
- Renaldo Balkman
- Ronny Turiaf
- Jerome Jordan
- Josh Harrellson
Assessing the roster and depth chart, the Knicks need a sharpshooting wing, and most importantly help at the center position. Additionally, it is important to remember that the Knicks are over the cap, but will be well under the luxury tax threshold. Thus, the Knicks will have the full mid-level exception (MLE) at their expense (up to 4-years, $5 million per year). If, for some reason, the Knicks find themselves more than $4 million above the luxury tax threshold of around $70 million, they will be able to utilize the newly introduced mini MLE (up to 3-years, $3 per year). One thing is for sure, the front office will have to get creative. It seems one of the front offices first moves will be to immediately resign Shawne Williams, cheaply. After this signing, tough decisions will have to be made.
With the “CP3-For-All”, coined by Alan Hahn of Newsday, looming, the Knicks will not be able to make any long-term signings this offseason. The Knicks will most likely hope that Jerome Jordan develop, quickly, into a center that can play 10-15 minutes a night, and hope to find a cheap defensive-minded center in free agency.
However, fear not, as there are some cheap players that can potentially make an impact for the Knicks. Below, in no particular order, I have listed some names that I will profile more in-depth in the coming days here at TheKnicksWall.
Potential Free Agent Targets:
1. Kurt Thomas – “Crazy Eyes” would fit in well and provide toughness, rebounding, and defense, all on the cheap.
2. Kyrylo Fesenko – My personal favorite; a solid, young 7-foot center who has shown promise and shined particularly in the playoffs against the Lakers frontline when Mehmet Okur went down.
3. Michael Redd - Although he is coming off numerous ligament tears, he remains an option as a veteran player to come in and make open shots, sort of like what Roger Mason was supposed to do last year.
4. Kwame Brown – Yes, he is one of the biggest NBA draft busts ever, but while he may not be able to catch the ball, he will certainly be able to be signed on the cheap and provide a little defense and rebounding.
5. Jamal Crawford – While highly unlikely, as the Knicks seem to not want to tie up any long-term money this year, even Crawford himself has entertained the idea of a return to New York.
While there are numerous options, these are some that stick out to me as potential players that can plug the holes on the roster, as it stands today. Of course, the Knicks will also entertain the trade and new amnesty market where guys like Robin Lopez, Brendan Haywood, and Baron Davis may be waiting.
All things considered, the Knicks have a solid nucleus intact with some exciting young players, but the “Cp3-For-All” will force them to get creative in order to fill the holes on the roster, with respect to centers and shooters, without locking anyone up to long-term deals.