Struggling Players the New York Knicks Can Sign on the Cheap
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
That is, as long as the second man is willing to do some deep dumpster diving.
This summer, the Knicks will be that second man. According to HoopsHype, the New York Knicks have an estimated 2013-14 team salary of $76 million. Not bad, until you realize that the estimated NBA salary cap will land around $60 million with the tax line sitting at $70 million. Eeek.
Basically, the New York Knicks are already painting the town red.
If the Knicks are going to get better, it’s time for them to search the bargain bin for those special somethings that were once showcase material.
Who’s out there for the Knicks to nab on the cheap? Who can make this squad good enough to challenge Indiana and Miami for East Coast supremacy? Let’s do a preliminary breeze through and check out some guys who can flash some substance and crack next season’s Knicks roster.
Stats via Basketball-Reference.com, and salary information from HoopsHype.com and NBA Salary FAQ.
Target #1: Chris Copeland
Clearance rack shopping is all about spotting reclamation projects. Chris Copeland was the Knicks prize in the cheap talent sweepstakes last year, as the young Cope proved useful as a stretch four down the stretch. He knows the system, plays well with Carmelo Anthony, and wants to come back.
Can the Knicks retain Chris Copeland at a cheap rate?
A few problems: The Knicks don’t have the full mid-level exception thanks to their crummy cap situation, and will probably have to offer Copeland the $3 million mini mid-level.
Although his defense is lacking, Copeland is a 6’9” big man with NBA three-point range. He hasn’t proven effective for more than this year, which might give teams pause at offering him huge dollars.
Needless to say, the Knicks need to pray and find a creative way to roll Cope into their plans.
Target #2: Patrick Mills
Last we saw Patty Mills, he was taking pictures of conference trophies for Manu Ginobili while smiling with his left bench Spurs and Australian teammate Aron Baynes. (If the Spurs win the Finals, Baynes and Mills would be the first Aussies to win NBA Championships since Andrew Gaze and Luc Longley.)
Before Monday’s Western Conference championship celebration, Patty was nonexistent. Patty couldn’t even rattle any cages with his 21.2 points per game performance in the 2012 London Olympics, which led all Olympians. (Kevin Durant was second at 19.5 points per game)
Patty Mills can ball, and he also has a player option for next year. Patty Mills better take a minute to smell the NBA’s desire for point guards and opt out.
Unfortunately for Mills, he’ll need another year of real playing time to max out his worth. Enter the Knicks.
Patrick Mills can take the minutes of the decaying Jason Kidd, play a strong backup role and push for the mid-level or greater in the summer of 2014. The Knicks can get a solid floor general to learn from Raymond Felton just in case Pablo Prigioni gets cold feet and decides to leave New York for Spain.
Target #3: Mickael Pietrus
All year, the Knicks boasted as if they owned a custom Ferrari. Real talk? These dudes only had the parts for an Acura RSX.
In short, this was their problem: New York had too many specialized parts, but no interchangeable pieces. The Knicks are in need of more two-way players who can shrink the rotation come playoffs.
Lucky for them, Pietrus has shown flashes of being one of those 3D conceptual players dreamed up by Zach Lowe at Grantland. In 2009, he defended Lebron James while shooting 47 percent from three, and was an integral part of the NBA Finals team led by the gregarious Dwight Howard.
Pietrus failed in Toronto because of overpopulation. Toronto was a team full of average small forwards, with guys ahead of him on the depth chart flush with too much cash to sit.
The Knicks don’t have that problem, thanks to a certain Baltimore bred superstar, and can use this Frenchman to cover ground with his long limbs and rise up in big moments.
Mickael Pietrus has the build and the skill to be this thrill for New York.
Target #4: Jason Maxiell
Detroit’s reconstruction plans center on their two centers: Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. With these two titans patrolling the paint for years to come, other big men currently employed by the Pistons will have to find their minutes and paychecks elsewhere.
Jason Maxiell is one of these unnecessary Detroit Pistons big men. Maxiell is on the shorter side of the power forward spectrum but has the hops and moves to hang with the big boys. He’s proven sticky, gets his highlights and plays with a passion that fuels his success.
The new Mad Max can bring some light to a depleted and aging Knicks frontcourt riddled with question marks. Maxiell can use the year to prove his worth on this playoff team, and the Knicks can use his spirit and skills to prop up a frontcourt that needs to be stout come playoff time.
Target #5: Josh Selby
Before Andrew Wiggins, there was Josh Selby.
Josh Selby was a YouTube Hall of Famer before his NBA days. Selby’s feet get high off the floor so his hands can finish at the tin, and Selby’s legs beat others down the court for fast break slams and thunder jams.
Honestly, Josh Selby just got drafted by the wrong team. Grit and grind just ain’t his style.
For the Knicks, this new Josh Selby comes cheap and humble. New York gives Selby the spotlight he needs to thrive. In return, Selby give the Knicks cheap athletic labor.
As a high wire supporting act behind J.R. Smith’s aggressive lead, Josh Selby can get one last chance at getting love and money from the NBA.