NBA Free Agency 2012: How Steve Nash to Lakers Affects New York Knicks

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NBA Free Agency 2012: How Steve Nash to Lakers Affects New York Knicks
Nick Laham/Getty Images

ESPN's Marc Stein has reported that the Los Angeles Lakers have acquired point guard Steve Nash in a sign-and-trade deal.

Earlier today, Nash was reported to be the newest Knick in a sign-and-trade deal that would have sent Iman Shumpert to Phoenix.

Now that Nash is in Los Angeles, the Knicks must redirect their efforts to re-signing point guard and restricted free agent Jeremy Lin. According to an ESPN report, the Houston Rockets have offered Jeremy Lin a backloaded "poison pill" contract. Due to the Gilbert Arenas rule, no team can offer Lin so much money that the Knicks cannot match the contract. However, the Rockets' offer likely starts at approximately $5 million annually (the mid-level exception and maximum the Knicks can pay Lin) but will increase to an eight-figure salary in the third and fourth years of the contract.

This ensures that if the Knicks match the offer, they will be over the salary cap in the third year of the deal with just four players signed, Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Lin.

However, without Nash in sight, the Knicks must show Lin that they are committed to keeping him in New York and potentially bring in a mentor for him. Jason Kidd has been linked to the Knicks, and signing a point guard like Kidd would really improve the franchise.

Not only could Kidd provide quality minutes for the team at either guard position, he could teach Lin valuable lessons. He could teach Lin to value the basketball and  to avoid turning the ball over so often, a skill that Lin is still learning.

Many Knicks fans did not want to give up Shumpert for Nash, and that is all but a memory right now. Shumpert will remain with the team for the time being and will be a quality ball-stopper for the team going forward.

The Nash-to-Lakers deal may have actually been a blessing in disguise for the Knicks, who get to keep Shumpert but still need to shore up the point guard position with Lin and possibly Kidd.

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