The outlook hasn't been good for the New York Knicks as far as Steve Nash is concerned, but perhaps they can soften the blow by making a run at a free-agent forward instead.
And if the Knicks want someone who's going to make an impact for the foreseeable future, they're better off going with Brandon Bass rather than Rashard Lewis.
According to Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears, New York is interested in both big men. First came the news that the Knicks would pursue Bass, despite the fact that the former Celtic is interested in re-signing:
Then came the news that Lewis was a Knicks target as well:
Expect Heat, Celtics, Lakers, Hawks and Knicks to have interest in free agent Rashard Lewis once he clears waivers, source tells Y!— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 1, 2012
Obviously, the Knicks are going to have a lot of competition for both big men, and perhaps they're keeping Lewis in mind as a backup plan. Bass, as a younger option with a lot more potential to be a factor off the bench or in the starting lineup, is going to have a plethora of suitors as free agency continues.
But the Knicks have already (most likely) whiffed on Nash, and they need to make a big move. Bass would be far from a blockbuster signing, but as he proved with the Celtics last season—particularly in the months of May and June—he can make a big impact.
Whom should the Knicks target?
In his only year with the Celtics, Bass, a seven-year veteran who has only been seriously considered as a starter for the last two, registered a career-high 12.5 points and 6.2 boards in just under 32 minutes per game.
In the playoffs, those totals held strong, particularly in a second-round series versus the Sixers when the team was battling a slew of injuries and needed someone—anyone—to counteract Philly's offensive presence.
The Knicks could really use a player like Bass to spell Amar'e Stoudemire or Carmelo Anthony, and they could be sure that his impact would be felt—whereas a player like Lewis, whose production has been steadily declining over the last seven or eight years, isn't what this team needs.
They need more than 7.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game from a 14-year vet, especially considering those are figures that could decline even further.
The Knicks need someone who's going to be a bit more of a sure thing and someone whose career is on the upswing. As far as those criteria are concerned, Bass fits that bill far better than Lewis.