New York Knicks: Players That Should Be Avoided in Free Agency

Ciaran GowanContributor IIIJuly 1, 2012

New York Knicks: Players That Should Be Avoided in Free Agency

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    NBA free agency is now underway, and as ever, there are plenty of rumors linking players to the New York Knicks.

    Since general manager Glen Grunwald is preparing to use only the $3 million "taxpayer's" mid-level exception, as opposed to the usual $5 million exception, the Knicks will likely be able to bring in only one quality player to join the bench—two if they're lucky.

    With that in mind, the Knicks should use that $3 million wisely, as the player they bring in could end up being the primary option off the bench, and as such would be a key part of the Knicks' potential success in 2012-13.

    Here is a list of players who could potentially join the Knicks, that wouldn't be worth the only $3 million the Knicks currently have at their disposal.

Raymond Felton

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    Back in the 2010-11 season, Raymond Felton was a revelation for the New York Knicks, so surely it would make sense to bring him back for less than half of what he was earning back then, right?

    Wrong.

    Though Felton had a great relationship with Amar'e Stoudemire for a few months in New York and almost ended up as an All-Star, that level of play can't be expected from him consistently.

    Since coming out of North Carolina, those few months he spent with the Knicks have been the only ones where he's looked anything like the player he was expected to be when drafted fifth overall in 2005.

    You may remember Felton's good times in New York—and there were quite a few—but Felton's performances towards the end of his tenure as a Knick, and after the Carmelo Anthony trade, are much more telling of who he really is.

    Felton was clearly unhappy in Denver when he was made back-up to the more impressive Ty Lawson, and you'd have to think his reaction would be the same if made to sit behind another promising point guard in Jeremy Lin.

    It even got to the point in Denver where they had to trade him away to the Trail Blazers for Andre Miller, who really thrived in that same back-up role this past season.

    In Portland, Felton came into the season overweight, showing little work ethic and having the worst year of his wholly underwhelming career.

    This year's free agency class presents to the Knicks many better veteran point guard options—Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and Andre Miller included—and the only situation in which Felton should be considered is if all three go elsewhere.

Jamal Crawford

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    If it wasn't for the fact that J.R. Smith is likely returning to the Knicks long-term, I'd be all for the idea of bringing Jamal Crawford back to New York.

    J-Crossover is one of those "instant offense" guys off-the-bench, and he's capable of putting big numbers up in a short space of time.

    He's a pretty good passer too, for a player who's primarily used as a scorer, and he's certainly worth a lot more than $3 million-a-year.

    That said, J.R. Smith gives the Knicks all that Crawford would, with better defense on top of that.

    Though having one of Smith or Crawford is great, having both would present a lot of problems for the Knicks on offense.

    Both are ball-dominant players who tend to take more than their fair share of questionable shots, and together they could form one of the league's most incoherent back-court pairings today.

    The mid-level exception would be better spent elsewhere—namely on a back-up point guard or a rebounding forward.

Michael Redd

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    Injuries absolutely killed the Knicks late last season, and though it's sad to say, Michael Redd is always an injury risk.

    Just a few years ago, Michael Redd was an elite NBA shooting guard, scoring over 26 points per game for the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2006-07 season.

    Even now that his athleticism has diminished, he proved last season with the Suns that he can still be a useful rotation player when healthy.

    The key words there are "when healthy."

    Though the Knicks are in need of a shooting guard to cover for Iman Shumpert whilst injured, what they definitely don't want is another player joining him on the injury report.

    Right now, Redd is much better off staying with the Suns and their elite medical staff. As with any other team in the NBA, he'd run a huge risk of missing a large chunk of games.

Gilbert Arenas

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    Gilbert Arenas is a player who's yet to be linked to the Knicks this offseason, but if New York misses out on some of the bigger point guard names available on the free agent market, rumors of his arrival could rear the ugly head once again.

    At this point in his career, Arenas is a ball-stopping point guard who can't penetrate anywhere near as well as he could earlier in his career, and instead resorts to taking too many jump shots on offense.

    Used as a solitary scorer off the bench, there's a chance that he could be successful, but with J.R. Smith filling that role, Arenas would instead be used as Jeremy Lin's back-up at the one.

    Arenas simply doesn't have the passer's mentality that would get players like Smith and Steve Novak the looks that they need to be successful with the bench unit.

    On top of that, Arenas is as big a locker room cancer as there is in the NBA, and as a team with enough bad press recently, the Knicks could really regret adding a personality like this to their roster.