The New York Knicks might not be back on the court yet, but that's never stopped media speculation from blowing up.
After a disappointing season and some interesting free-agent signings, there is a lot of buzz surrounding the Knicks as we approach training camp. It's the first camp with the Big Three, it's Mike Woodson's first full season as head coach and it's the first time New York has had a championship-caliber roster since Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas were here last time.
With high hopes for a big season in New York, let's take a look at what Knicks stories people are talking about.
New York already brought Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas back to bolster the frontcourt. Now there's a third vet in the mix.
Though the Knicks' big men are old enough as is, the Sheed signing has very little downside to it. At his best, he'd be a rugged contributor off the bench to harry teams while Amar'e Stoudemire takes a breather. Worst-case scenario, he's ineffective and falls out of the rotation. No harm, no foul.
Some might make the argument that Wallace could poison Mike Woodson's locker room, but that's not going to happen. There's too many veteran voices to allow it, and Sheed's role is too small to lend any naysaying much weight. Besides, his agent told the Post that he only returned to play under Woodson, who was an assistant coach in Detroit when he was there.
Sheed will be in a situation he likes, and he'll be on his best behavior. If nothing else, NBA fans know he will play hard.
Even with Wallace now in town, the Knicks are still looking into yet another veteran. This time, it's Josh Howard.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Howard is vying for a roster spot with one of four teams, including the Knicks. Though he'd like to return to Utah, the Jazz currently have a full 15-man roster, so the 32-year-old small forward is exploring other options.
Howard would be a luxury for New York, but he'd certainly come in handy. Right now, Carmelo Anthony's backups are Steve Novak, who does not fit the mold of a wing, and Ronnie Brewer, who Mike Woodson would prefer to play mostly at shooting guard.
Bringing in another true small forward would provide Woodson with some depth-chart flexibility that could help keep the Knicks rested and healthy throughout the long season.
With Iman Shumpert rehabbing a torn ACL and Ronnie Brewer nursing a meniscus tear, the Knicks are already running thin at shooting guard. Fortunately, it looks like they'll get Brewer back sooner rather than later.
Ever since suffering the knee injury sometime during his summer training, Brewer has been adamant that he'd return for the Knicks' opener on November 1st. He told that to Ian Begley of ESPN New York when he underwent surgery, and he reiterated it to Begley weeks later.
If Brewer is a man of his word, that's a big boost for Woodson's squad heading into the season. Brewer is one of the league's best wing defenders, and he will have no problem filling in for Shumpert while he is out. What's more, he allows Woodson to play J.R. Smith off the bench, where his explosive but unpredictable scoring ability is a more valuable asset.
It could've been touch and go for the Knicks if they entered the season ailing at shooting guard. With Brewer fast on the mend, that unpleasant scenario is fading fast.
Mike Woodson's M.O. as a coach is a heavy emphasis on defense. From the sound of what his players are saying, they hear him loud and clear.
NJ.com reports that every Knick to speak at the team's media day championed the company line when it came to defense. Even Carmelo Anthony, who has been knocked in the past for his lackadaisical defensive play, acknowledged that he didn't want to be just another scorer.
Anthony, who is entering his 11th season, said he's tired of just scoring a boatload of points with nothing to ultimately show for it. A known assassin on the floor, Anthony admitted he "can score 30 points anytime I want" and added with a wry smile that he's "done trying to score 30. Everybody knows I can do it. ... So if I have to sacrifice (scoring) I'll do it."
Of course, talk is cheap if the players don't actually take this mentality onto the court. Still, it's always good news to hear the defensive agnostics like Anthony preaching the team mantra. That's what training camp is for: getting the message across.
Carmelo Anthony (left) and Amar'e Stoudemire
While there are plenty of residual effects from the Knicks' offseason, the biggest training camp story is an old one: Will Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire be able to play together?
According to The New York Times, it doesn't look pretty. People from all walks of NBA life are sounding off on the issue. Former All-Stars Shaquille O'Neal and Chris Webber are skeptical, as are management guys like Phil Jackson and Steve Kerr. Knicks great and MSG analyst Walt Frazier broached the subject of playing Melo and Amar'e apart more to give each a comfort zone.
Ultimately, they're all correct. Anthony and Stoudemire are both in New York because they are star players. They have proven themselves and their respective games, and they won't be able to change overnight. Playing them apart more will help maximize their strengths, but that's not a full solution.
If Melo and Amar'e can't play together, the Knicks won't win a title. It's that simple. Maybe a full offseason with Woodson will yield results Mike D'Antoni could not get due to the lockout. Maybe these guys weren't made to play together and this Knicks team will always come up short. Until the opening tip on November 1st, nobody really knows anything.
Nevertheless, only one thing is certain right now: Knicks fans are dying for some answers.