As Knick fans waited in anticipation for Jamal Crawford to make his final decision on where he would take his talents, Shawne Williams waited in anticipation for the Knicks to make a decision on his own future. In the end, the Knicks struck out looking as Jamal Crawford will suit-up for the Blazers and Shawne Williams will move on (and start) for the cross-river rival Nets.
What started as a debate as to who fans would rather sign, turned out to be a decision that wasn’t up to the Knicks in the end. Both players expressed a strong desire to play for the Knicks, with Williams even going as far as saying that he wanted to remain with the Knicks and that money was not an issue. As is usually the case though, the money talked and the players walked.
More after the jump…
Crawford choosing the Knicks was always a long shot as they could only offer him their mini mid-level exception worth $2.5 million for 2 years, while other suitors, like the Blazers and Kings, were offering $5 million and $6 million for 2 years, respectively. While I believe Crawford genuinely wanted to be in New York and experience the awesomeness that comes with winning here, this was probably Crawford’s last shot to get a meaty contract and I can’t fault him for that. And it wasn’t totally about the money as Jamal took a lesser offer from the Blazers, where he will be on a playoff team that is also very close to his hometown of Seattle, instead of the most lucrative offer that he got from the Kings.
Shawne Williams had an offer of $5.1 million over 2 years from the Knicks, but The Prokhorov and his Nyets won a small battle stealing the sharp-shooting swingman from the Knicks for $6.1 million over 2 years, while also promising a starting role. Williams is not irreplaceable, but the Knicks will miss his corner 3 shooting prowess and he was also a great chemistry guy to have on the team. STAT’s response? “We’ll see him soon.” Saturday at 2PM to be exact.
Missing out on both players definitely stings for the Knicks as they have a paper thin bench that is arguably the weakest bench in the NBA. Crawford would have been a great bench all by himself. This puts added pressure on electric rookie Iman Shumpert and 73 year old Mike Bibby to provide some much needed scoring power off the bench. The Knicks are now scrambling for alternatives and rumors are swirling with guys like Michael Redd, Bostjan Nachbar and the recently amnestied Baron Davis being mentioned. I’m not totally enamored with these players, but beggars can’t be choosers. Maybe Clyde can give it a go.
I’m curious to see the status of bruising big man Reggie Evans who was hurt for much of last year, but is a strong rebounder and defender. The Nets just waived Travis Outlaw and he would be a great pickup for the Knicks, but I’d be shocked if he ever made it past the waiver-wire, as under the cap teams will have first dibs on him. DeShawne Stevenson? At the very least he could piss off Lebron. Another name that was rumored to be amnestied was our old pal Nate Robinson, but I doubt Mike D’Antoni ever signs off on that pickup. The China trio of Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith and fan favorite, Wilson Chandler, will be heading back to the NBA in March. The Knicks would be lucky to pick up any 1 of those guys. Then there’s always the D-league. Who else is out there?
Either way, the Knicks will certainly have to get creative to fill out the roster with capable players and all questions will be answered for better or worse in the next few days.
On to the next one.
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