ESPN's Jared Zwerling reported that Steve Nash is not likely to choose New York during the upcoming free agency period. "Hearing that Nash won't want to come to NY," he stated on Twitter. However, the Knicks aren't even aware if the Phoenix point guard is in their budget. The team must wait for a verdict on the arbitration of Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak's Bird's Rights; the hearing is scheduled for June 13th.
When New York finds out the result of this, they can move on to discover their true destiny. However, is it really Steve Nash or bust this free agency? I'd like to say no.
Does anyone remember the guy that ran the point for the Knicks before the Carmelo Anthony trade? A guy by the name of Raymond Felton led the Knicks to a 28-26 record. While this isn't amazing, it was great at the time.
During his short tenure with New York, Felton was averaging 17 points and nine assists a game. He and Amar'e Stoudemire perfected the pick and roll and ran it smoothly. I do realize that this point guard was absent all of last season, but who wasn't affected by the lockout?
Felton is 27 years old, and I'm sure he would love to reunite with the Garden faithful. Last season, he made $7.5 million; you can guarantee that he won't command that much during this upcoming offseason. Giving his decline in Portland (11.4 PPG, 6.5 APG), I'm sure the Knicks management could low ball Felton and get him cheap.
Let's say at any given time you have Felton running the point, Iman Shumpert at the two spot, Carmelo Anthony at the small forward, Amar'e at the power forward, and Tyson Chandler at center. I could accept this, but as I previously mentioned it would depend which Raymond Felton comes to work next season.
Is Felton a viable back-up plan?
The point guard's job is to facilitate the ball, and clearly Felton knows how to do this. He was able to dish to Amar'e in the post for a few easy buckets. Felton would also pass to Danilo Gallinari in spots where he liked to shoot threes. Replacing Gallo with Melo, you can only imagine that Melo would sink more shots, which in turn would raise Felton's assists. Having a scorer on the team like Melo would also create more shots for Felton, so his points per game could also increase.
Felton's advantage over others would be the previous success that he has had with New York, and this might push in his favor over anybody not named Steve Nash.
If things go the Knicks' way June 13th, having Lin and Felton running the point isn't that bad. It sure beats an offense led by Toney Douglas.