Starter: Carmelo Anthony
Back-Ups: Lamar Odom (Bought Out/Unrestricted Free Agent)
The small forward position is probably the toughest position of them all to predict, mainly because of the number of variables surrounding whether or not the Knicks can get their hands on the players who'll fit best on the team.
The starter, of course, will be Carmelo Anthony—the face of the franchise who owner James Dolan will not be looking to trade any time soon—but the back-ups are a little less straightforward.
The expected result of Wednesday’s arbitration hearing (that the Knicks will not have Bird rights for Steve Novak) will make it all but impossible for the Knicks to sign Steve Novak, unless of course he’s willing to take another contract thereabouts the veteran's minimum to stay with the team.
But if Novak does as expected and instead accepts a slightly bigger offer from elsewhere, the Knicks will be left with very little money to sign a replacement.
There will definitely be enough cheap small forward options available on the free agent market for the Knicks, the problem is just that they’re not very good.
Instead, the Knicks should look to power forward Mirza Teletovic (who I’ll get to later), to play some minutes at the three.
Now, to Lamar Odom.
The forward is currently under contract with the Dallas Mavericks for $2.4 million of guaranteed money in 2012-13, but would have to be paid up to $8.2 million if kept by the Mavericks or traded to another team.
This inflated salary makes him a very unattractive trade option, but if the Mavericks were to buy him out for that $2.4 million, he suddenly becomes an unrestricted free agent willing to sign a one-year minimum deal.
Most people seem to agree that either of the two New York or Los Angeles teams would be a good fit for the 2011 Sixth Man of the Year award winner, but the Knicks would make the most sense.
Odom is a Queens native who supported the ‘Bockers growing up, and would actually not be able to join his old Lakers team until December 11th, which all but puts them out of the running.
As for the Nets, Odom simply won’t want to be part of such a bad team after nine straight years playing for three of the NBA’s best teams, making the Clippers the only other realistic option for him.
If the Knicks were to acquire Odom, they’d have themselves a versatile player who could play minutes behind Melo, Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, and even Jeremy Lin thanks to his ball-handling and play-making ability.