Ranking Each of the New York Knicks' Offseason Moves by Impact

Daniel O'BrienFeatured ColumnistJuly 16, 2012

Ranking Each of the New York Knicks' Offseason Moves by Impact

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    It seems like almost everyday, the New York Knicks are making another offseason move of some sort.

    Throughout the 2012 free-agency period, general manager Glen Grunwald has been busy signing new talent, re-signing the current talent or making a big decision to let free agents go.

    He also completed a couple of deals to bring back former Knickerbockers who will play key roles in their return to Madison Square Garden. New York has plenty of proven talent surrounding Carmelo Anthony, and Knicks fans are wondering if this is the year they compete with the East's elite.

    Which transactions will have the biggest impact on Mike Woodson's club?

    Here's our rankings of each of the Knicks' offseason moves by impact.

10. Signing Chris Copeland

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    Last week, New York signed 6'8" forward Chris Copeland to a non-guaranteed contract, and it looks like he'll have a decent chance of earning a roster spot in the fall.

    It's highly unlikely that he'll see any meaningful playing time this year, but Knicks fans should know to not count anyone out.

    Ian Begley of ESPN.com gives us a little bit of Copeland's resume to chew on:

    The Newark native won the Belgium Ethias League MVP award while averaging 20.1 points per game while shooting 59.6% from the field during EuroChallenge competition last season.

9. Signing James White

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    High-flying journeyman James White has played for eight different teams in his six-year professional career, but the Knicks saw enough in his recent stint in Italy to sign the free-agent.

    White played a small handful of games in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets, but he's spent more of his time in the Developmental League, Russia and Italy.

    Even if the 6'7" leaper doesn't yield consistent production, he'll always be good for the occasional show-stopping dunk. He's been in the McDonald's All-America dunk contest, the NCAA dunk contest and dunk contests in Europe.

8. Signing Pablo Prigioni

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    Argentinian Pablo Prigioni also joined the Knicks' ranks last week, as the 35-year-old point guard signed a one-year deal for the league minimum.

    Prigioni will be deep on New York's bench, but if you want to get a sneak peak at his skills, keep an eye on Argentina's national team at the London Olympics. The veteran facilitator won the bronze medal in 2008 as Argentina's starting point guard in the Beijing Games.

    With Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd ahead of him, it will be tough for the Spanish League All-Star to make an impact on a nightly basis.

7. Signing Jason Kidd

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    When the Knicks initially landed Jason Kidd, it looked like it was going to be a great opportunity for him to get some significant substitute minutes while guiding young star Jeremy Lin.

    After the Raymond Felton trade and Jeremy Lin's probable departure to Houston, it looks like Kidd's role will be more of a traditional backup.

    His production dipped significantly from 2010-11 to 2011-12, and it's clear that Kidd's playmaking days are behind him. But he can still run New York's offense and hit three-pointers while giving Felton a breather, and he's an above-average rebounder for a guard.

    Knicks fans should just be glad he's alive after Saturday night's drunk-driving incident and arrest.

6. Marcus Camby Sign-and-Trade

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    In a sign-and-trade deal with the Houston Rockets, the Knickerbockers added some size and rebounding by picking up veteran center Marcus Camby.

    It's Camby's second stint with New York, as he inked a three-year, $13.2 million deal to back up Tyson Chandler.

    His shot-blocking prowess is nowhere near what it was at the peak of his career, but he can still rebound with the best. Camby hauled in nine rebounds per game with just 22 minutes per game.

    The Knicks gave up Toney Douglas, Jerome Jordan, Josh Harrellson and two future second-round draft picks to get Camby. It was a worthwhile trade to upgrade the frontcourt.

5. Re-Signing Steve Novak

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    The discount double-check championship belt lives on in Madison Square Garden, as New York re-signed Steve Novak to a four-year, $15 million deal.

    Mike Woodson is hoping that Novak's 2011-12 was indicative of the future and not just an anomaly. He's pretty much a one-dimensional player, but when he's feeling that long-range shot, he's one of the most dangerous shooters in the league.

    Last year, the six-year pro broke out for 19 minutes and nine points per game on 47 percent shooting from distance.

    New York's investment in the 6'10" sniper will be worth it if he can continue to stretch defenses and hit timely triples.

4. Letting Landry Fields Walk

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    In a tough but wise decision, the Knicks declined to match the Toronto Raptors' offer sheet for restricted free agent Landry Fields, thereby letting him go.

    Fields was a steal for New York in the second round of the 2010 NBA draft. He was a solid role player that James Dolan spared from the massive shipment for Carmelo last spring.

    However, the young small forward wasn't worth $20 million over three years, which is what Toronto offered. He's an inconsistent scorer who's a decent outside shooter and an average shot-creator.

    Give James Dolan and Glen Grunwald credit for saving the team a substantial amount of money.

3. Re-Signing J.R. Smith

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    Re-signing J.R. Smith could turn out to be the best bargain in the NBA— if Smith stays out of trouble and adds scoring and energy.

    The electrifying guard signed a modest, two-year contract worth $5.6 million, with the second year being optional.

    Will the Garden enjoy the sharpshooting Smith, the one who lights up the scoreboard and the crowd with his skills and athleticism? Or will it see the inconsistent journeyman who's out of sync with his team and his coach?

    Smith's efficiency and consistency will go a long way in dictating how far the Knicks can go next spring.

2. Letting Jeremy Lin Walk (Pending)

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    Less than a week ago, it looked more than likely that New York would match the Houston Rockets' offer in order to retain Jeremy Lin.

    Now, with Felton back in the Big Apple, sources tell Stephen A. Smith that the Knicks will let Lin walk.

    What would this mean for the franchise? Linsanity in New York would be a thing of the past. But the Knicks would be saving themselves the bushel of money they would've used to match Houston.

    Lin gave the Garden a unique thrill last February, and he has great NBA potential, but from a basketball standpoint, a $29 million contract is too steep.

    New York should move on and reap the financial and basketball benefits of letting Lin go.

1. Trading for Raymond Felton and Kurt Thomas

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    Trading for Raymond Felton is the single most influential move of the Knickerbockers' offseason. It will almost certainly send Jeremy Lin packing and change the complexion of the Garden backcourt.

    The recent swap with Portland sends Felton and Kurt Thomas to New York in exchange for Dan Gadzuric, Jared Jeffries, 2012 draft pick Kostas Papanikolau, Georgios Printezis and cash.

    Felton is a different type of player than Lin. He's not quite as dynamic and he's older, but he's an efficient, proven guard who is comfortable in New York. He orchestrated some excellent Knicks basketball in 2010-11 before he was shipped to Denver in the Carmelo trade.

    If he can effectively distribute the ball among Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith, the Knicks will be a tough machine to stop.