Knicks Rumors: Grading New York's Offseason Moves so Far
For the first time in years, the New York Knicks went into the offseason without needing to make any major changes to the make-up of their roster.
With the core of Amare' Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler finally being assembled back in December, the Knicks simply needed to add complimentary players to fill out the roster, and it looks like that has been the plan so far.
Though we won't know for sure how good their signings have been until we finally see them together on the court, I'm going to grade Glen Grunwald and company's offseason moves so far here in July.
Signing James White
The Knicks' first move of the offseason was a relatively low-key one, considering that they had been linked to the likes of Steve Nash and Ray Allen early on, but the addition of James "Flight" White for around the veteran's minimum could turn out to be very useful.
Though he's managed to play in only 10 career NBA games, White has had a solid career in Italy, emerging as one of Serie A's best scorers and one of the most athletic players that European basketball has to offer.
Given a second chance in the States, White will return with a more polished game and definitely has the potential to break into Mike Woodson's rotation if given the opportunity.
With Landry Fields likely leaving, and Iman Shumpert injured, the Knicks are in need of some shooting guard depth, and though he's more of a small forward, White can certainly provide that.
As a small forward, White is a much more well-rounded player than Steve Novak, and gives Woodson another realistic option to bring into games when Carmelo Anthony is on the bench.
Signing Jason Kidd
With no true point guards under contract heading into July, the one spot was without doubt a position of need for the Knicks this offseason.
With the ability to match any offer for Jeremy Lin, what the Knicks really needed was his backup, and it looks like they've found the perfect man for the job in Jason Kidd.
Though their first option was to bring in Steve Nash via sign-and-trade, Kidd is a more reasonable pickup for only $9 million over three years, and though he's not quite on the same level as Nash, he's still a quality NBA backup.
Kidd has a lot of knowledge to give to Lin - who's still a raw talent despite the success he had last season—and his fingerprints could be all over the eventual development of the Knicks' young star.
Though he was the Knicks' plan B, Kidd is still a fantastic signing with the mid-level exception, and though he's 39 now, Kidd's durability will mean the Knicks will be reaping the benefits all season long.
Re-Signing Steve Novak
Steve Novak emerged as one of, if not the, best shooters in the NBA last season, and the Knicks really needed to keep him in order to space the floor and have a dynamic offense.
The four-year, $15 million deal Novak eventually signed for may sound a bit steep at first, but Novak's outside shooting will be invaluable to the Knicks next season.
By making this move, the Knicks will have themselves an outside threat for four straight years, and a three-point specialist is not something they'll have to worry about finding for a long time.
Sign-and-Trading for Marcus Camby
Once they addressed the need for a backup point guard, the Knicks turned their attention to picking up a backup big man, and former-Knick Marcus Camby was one of the best available in the New York's price range.
Bringing back Camby means great things for the Knicks' interior defense, as they now have three elite defenders inside with Camby, Jared Jeffries and Tyson Chandler.
With the ability to play at the four, as well as at the five, Camby can act as the backup for both Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire, which is really important considering the injuries and durability issues the two have faced so far in their respective careers.
As good as Camby is, though, it does feel like the Knicks gave a little too much up for his services, and it would have been nice to see them hold on to Josh Harrellson, or at least the two second-rounders they gave up.
That said, the Knicks are obviously in win-now mode, and a young big-man and some future draft picks aren't going to contribute to a title run this season the same way that Camby will.
Re-Signing J.R. Smith
For some reason, the re-signing of J.R. Smith has been taken quite badly by Knicks fans this offseason—but for only $2.8 million, he is an absolute bargain.
Smith gives the Knicks an offensive spark off the bench, and despite his reputation, also provides some solid perimeter defense, too.
Some will criticize Smith for his shot selection on offense, but under the tuteleage of Mike Woodson, with whom he's developed quite a good relationship, Smith's basketball mind is only going to grow, as will his contributions to the team.
Aged only 26, Smith is a pure baller with a lot of talent, and the Knicks will be able to utilize his Bird rights next year if they feel he's made good on that talent.
With only a one-year deal (and a player option), Smith will be motivated to have a career year in 2012-13, as he looks to finally earn the big pay day that so many others got around the NBA this offseason.
A motivated J.R. Smith for only $2.8 million could turn out to be the value signing of the offseason.
Matching Houston Rockets' Offer for Jeremy Lin
The Jeremy Lin contract situation has been the talk of the New York Knicks ever since they were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by the Miami Heat, but it finally looks like there could be some closure in the near future.
Whilst the end result will be the same, with Lin remaining in New York, the Knicks may have had an easier time if they'd approached Lin's free agency slightly differently.
If the Knicks had made an offer to Lin themselves before letting him talk to other teams, there may have been a chance to convince him to sign for a little less than what the Rockets offered.
Lin was reportedly upset about the Knicks not making him an offer first, and though he denied this on Twitter, he may have felt more wanted by the Knicks had they made the first move themselves.
Signing Pablo Prigioni
After working out Argentinian point guard Pablo Prigioni back in June, the Knicks have finally signed the former Euroleague assist leader to a one-year deal for the rookie's minimum.
For such a small salary, this is really a no-risk move for the Knicks, as they bring in a player who will be used strictly for depth behind Jeremy Lin and Jason Kidd.
At age 35, Prigioni may not have any NBA experience but he certainly has baksetball experience, after a storied career in Spain over the last 13 years.
Prigioni is a player who'll bring leadership and a pass-first mentality, and considering the issues they had with injuries last season, it's important for the Knicks to have a player of his quality as the third point guard.
Along with San Antonio Spurs star Manu Ginobili, Prigioni will be starting in the Argentina back-court for the London Olympics this Summer, where he'll have a chance to make a name for himself with a few more Knicks fans paying attention to him.