Changes needed to be made for the New York Knicks after they managed to win just one playoff game last season. Built around the trio of Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, the Knicks' main focus this offseason was fixing smaller needs without overspending.
Jason Kidd and Marcus Camby will help to strengthen the Knicks bench and give New York some veteran leadership. The re-signing of gunner J.R. Smith and three-point specialist Steve Novak means the Knicks will continue to have one of the best offensive second units.
The biggest move was trading for Raymond Felton, because it meant the end of Jeremy Lin in New York. While failing to match the Rockets' offer may have not been the smartest move from a marketing standpoint, will it translate to more wins for New York?
While the majority of these moves will ultimately help the Knicks reach the playoffs for the third year in a row, it’ll be up to the Big Three to get them deep into the postseason.
Clearly not the player that he once was, Kidd is still a nice upgrade over Mike Bibby and Baron Davis. Kidd plays exceptional defense for his age and is still one of the better facilitators in the game, averaging 5.5 assists per game for the Mavericks last season.
If Raymond Felton falters as the starting point guard for the Knicks, Kidd could replace him in the lineup, and New York wouldn’t miss a beat. He’ll do a good job of involving Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony in the offense and hit the open three when needed.
Overall, this was a great signing for the Knicks, as the only con is Kidd’s age. After the money given to point guards like Goran Dragic and Jeremy Lin this offseason, Kidd’s three-year, $9.5-million contract is a bargain for New York.
The Knicks needed some size and defense up front if they wanted to compete with the Celtics in the Atlantic Division. Camby averaged nine rebounds per game to go along with 1.4 blocks per game for the Blazers and Rockets last season.
Camby helps strengthen the Knicks' frontcourt, giving them a big man they can rely on coming off the bench. New York gave Camby a three-year, $13.2-million contract in their sign-and-trade with Houston.
Giving up Toney Douglas, Josh Harrellson, Jerome Jordan and two second-round picks wasn’t a lot for Camby, but giving a three-year contract to a 38-year-old with a history of injuries is a curious decision.
Both Novak and Smith were key factors in the Knicks reaching the playoffs last year, as both provided an offensive spark off the bench.
Novak’s main contribution was his three-point shooting, as he connected on 47.2 percent of his shots behind the arc in 2011-12. New York knows what they’re getting in Novak: a guy who can hit big threes when he’s called upon.
While his four-year, $15-million contract is a lot of money for a guy who can only shoot threes, Novak could easily lead the league in three-point percentage again next year.
When J.R. Smith is feeling it, he’s one of the hardest guys in the league to stop, but when he’s cold, he can single-handedly lose a game for the Knicks.
Fortunately, the Knicks have plenty of weapons on offense with Raymond Felton and Ronnie Brewer being added this offseason, so they won’t have to rely on Smith’s offense like they did late last year. Smith is only making $2.8 million next year, so the Knicks made a smart move by not signing him to a big contract.
The trade for Raymond Felton meant the end of the Jeremy Lin saga in New York. Even though Linsanity helped the Knicks become relevant again, letting him go may have been the best thing going forward.
Unlike Lin, Felton won’t need the ball to be effective. The offense can now be run through Carmelo Anthony, which makes perfect sense considering he’s the best one-on-one scorer in the league.
The Knicks should be more effective as a team with Lin gone to Houston. However, Felton isn’t as skilled as Lin, so they can’t rely as heavily on their point guard this season.
Kurt Thomas will help add rebounding and toughness off the bench. He’s scheduled to make $1.35 million next year, a very affordable contract for New York. Thomas is old and can’t really score, but he will still make the Knicks a tougher team.
The Knicks will be able to overcome the loss of Jared Jeffries and Dan Gadzuric with Camby and Thomas, so losing those two shouldn’t affect them very much this season.
The Knicks finished off their offseason by offering contracts to four different players: Ronnie Brewer, Chris Copeland, James White and Pablo Prigioni.
Brewer played poorly for Chicago last season, shooting 42.7 percent from the field and only 56 percent from the free-throw line. Those numbers could be a result of the lockout and a shortened training camp, so expect Brewer to bounce back for the Knicks this year, but not at the same level that he played at with Utah.
Chris Copeland signed a non-guaranteed contract with the Knicks this summer and has a chance of making the roster in training camp. Copeland played well for Generali Okapi Aalstar last season, averaging 21.8 points per game. However, Copeland will have a minimal impact for New York this year.
James White was last seen in the 2009-10 season, when he played three games for the Denver Nuggets. White may not contribute much to the Knicks this season, but he will throw down some highlight-reel dunks.
Pablo Prigioni is a 35-year-old point guard from the Spanish League whom the Knicks signed to the league minimum. Prigioni has had a successful career internationally for Argentina, winning a bronze medal as the starting point guard for the Olympic squad. Prigioni should fill in nicely as the third point guard for New York but shouldn’t be counted on for more than that.