The New York Knicks are still short on perimeter defenders, and it looks as if finding a solid one is going to be a rather daunting task.
One potential option, who has playoff experience and would come at a cheap price, is former Boston Celtic Mickael Pietrus.
Not so fast.
Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York reports that Pietrus will not be playing in Madison Square Garden:
Was it a subtle jab suggesting the Knicks aren’t a playoff team? Or was it more about the money?
Either way, he is another player to delete from the list. With the roster currently at 13, and Iman Shumpert not expected to return until January, the only guards on the roster are Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Pablo Prigioni and J.R. Smith.
Unless Prigioni is the next great defensive star, perimeter defense is going to be a glaring weakness until Shumpert returns.
Zwerling suggested Ronnie Brewer, Maurice Evans, Sonny Weems, Marco Belinelli, Carlos Delfino and Jodie Meeks as potential targets who could fit in New York.
The Knicks are looking to offer one of the above-mentioned players roughly $1.4 million (via Zwerling), which means they’ll have to really sell the whole “playing at Madison Square Garden” card. That can lead to mixed results, as not everybody wants to be in the spotlight.
Brewer and Delfino are the best options due to their defense, but both could likely land more money somewhere else.
You also have to wonder what players around the league are thinking about the Knicks, specifically owner James Dolan, after the Jeremy Lin debacle. Could that scare off a guy who was considering a pay cut to join the team?
The ripple effect may have already been felt with the decision of Pietrus. He is the stout defender that the Knicks desperately needed.
Shumpert was one of the more underrated players in the league last season, and unless the Knicks can bring on more help on defense, it’s going to be rough sledding for the first two months of the season.