Though the New York Knicks have had a busy and productive offseason, GM Glen Grunwald's work is anything but over. This team still needs some help on the back end of the bench and given the players still available on the free agent market, he needs to break out the checkbook for players that can be gotten on the cheap.
From pesky defense to guys that are just plain good to have in the locker room on attitude alone, New York is just one or two contracts away from being a full and complete team. On top of all of that, they could potentially be the deepest and most productive.
In fact, I can think of five available players who, if playing for New York, would bring their own unique value to the roster.
No. 5: Brian Scalabrine
Before I go any further, allow me to say this much. I seriously have no clue as to why Brian Scalabrine has been able to hold down a job in the NBA for the past 11 years. He has almost zero athleticism, he looks awkward running up and down the court and, to top it all off, he has only averaged 13 minutes per game for his career. Playing for the Chicago Bulls last season, he averaged just over a point a game in a whopping 4.4 minutes per contest.
Yet, despite his limitations in terms of playing the game, Scalabrine maintains a positive attitude and is apparently a positive presence in the locker room. It's almost as though he knows he isn't anything special, but is just happy to be part of a team.
Given how the Knicks could certainly use a team chemistry lesson, bringing him in on the veteran's minimum and giving him nothing but garbage minutes can't hurt.
No. 4: Brian Cardinal
Like Scalabrine, Cardinal is a player whose positive attitude has kept him in the league for a dozen years. Yet, unlike the ginger-haired forward, Cardinal can at least be relied upon to make three-pointers consistently. In his 12 seasons, he has shot 37 percent from long range.
That said, though he would almost certainly be the 12th man on the Knicks or any team that chooses to sign him, Cardinal's jovial attitude would be a welcome addition in New York. This is a team that needs to gel together and given how Cardinal, like Scalabrine, also has championship experience, he could certainly keep his teammates focused and pumped up during a playoff run.
No. 3: Nate Robinson
Robinson started his career in New York and his first go-around with the team was, to say the least, tumultuous. The 5'9" guard thrived in Mike D'Antoni's fast-paced offensive system and on top of being a good shooter, he was a phenomenal dunker.
On defense, however, Robinson is hit or miss and in Mike Woodson's system, playing tough D is almost a must. Still, the former Washington Husky still has the size and athletic ability to be a pest on the defensive side of the ball. On offense, when left wide open, he is almost a lock to make a shot. Playing for the Golden State Warriors last year, he averaged 11.2 points off the bench and shot 36 percent from three-point land.
Given how he is now 28 years old and more mature as a player, there's no reason to believe that Grunwald wouldn't be able to sign Robinson to a one-year deal for a fairly low price, just to be an electrifying guard in the second unit.
No. 2: Matt Barnes
As well as the Knicks have done in free agency this offseason, they could still use a solid swingman off the bench. Barnes averaged 7.8 points and 5.5 rebounds playing for the Los Angeles Lakers last season and given how much effort he puts into his game, it's kind of shocking that he has yet to receive any contract offers.
The former UCLA Bruin actually appeared in six games for the Knicks back in the 2005-2006 season, during the disastrous year when Larry Brown was head coach, and his overall skills have highly developed since then. That said, will Barnes be one to put up consistent numbers in most major categories if New York were to give him another chance? Most likely not.
Yet, one thing is certain. Barnes would be the bench player who showed the most determination on the floor night after night. The total number of minutes wouldn't really be an issue for him. He would just get on the court and do his best so that his team could bring the win home.
Seeing as how the Knicks could use that effort in any way, shape and form, it couldn't hurt Grunwald to at least offer Barnes the veteran's minimum.
No. 1: Carlos Delfino
At this point in NBA free agency season, Delfino is probably the best available player on the market. Simply put, it's flat out shocking that the Argentinian swingman has yet to land a new contract. Hoopshype has reported that "several" teams have contacted him, but no agreements have been reached yet.
That said, though the Knicks have already signed a fine defensive pest in Ronnie Brewer, taking a look at Delfino certainly couldn't hurt. He's the type of player that will most likely demand a multi-year deal but as I mentioned before, no teams have shown a truly overwhelming interest in him thus far. To be honest, I'm kind of shocked that Ronnie Brewer was able to land a deal before him.
Delfino's best strengths are his defense and three-point shooting. Playing for the Milwaukee Bucks last season, he averaged 1.5 steals per game while shooting 36 percent from long range. He turns 30 in a month, so age really isn't an issue, and the only thing that could be keeping teams from signing him is probably his past concussion problems.
Still, if the market for him still doesn't develop in the next couple of weeks, Grunwald should roll the dice and make him an offer. After all, in basketball, is there really such thing as too much defense?
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