Value Free Agents Who Would Thrive on the Knicks' Bench
So far, here are the guys wearing the orange and blue for New York next season: Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, Pablo Prigioni, J.R. Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Andrea Bargnani.
Barring any dramatic cannonball splashes, the Knicks are just about set for next season. Now, it’s about filling those last few spaces of the roster with players that have quality and potential. After promising Pablo Prigioni a new deal early in free agency, the Knicks only have $1.75 million of mini-MLE money to play with, along with a handful of minimum contracts.
Who can the Knicks steal with such a low amount of cash?
Let’s explore some options.
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 72 games, 7.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 47.3% FG, 15.2 PER (15.0 = league average).
The New York Knicks are in hot pursuit of New York State childhood-resident Elton Brand. Back in the day, Elton avoided the Big Apple to focus on his game and build his abilities. Momma Brand thought it best to live in Chicago and Los Angeles in his youth, and the business of the NBA obliged.
Although he’s aged, Brand’s only two years removed from his role as a central cog for a solid Philly playoff team that pushed Boston to the limit. Brand has the ability to influence the outcome of the series or to swing a game with solid defense and offensive efficiency.
The Knicks don’t need all of the youthful abilities (or ACLs) of the power forward who starred on the 2006 FIBA team, just a few key minutes against the right teams come playoff time. Brand should be an upgrade over the corpse of Marcus Camby (now frequenting the Toronto scene) and can make an instant impact.
If I were the Knicks, I’d mail the rest of the $1.75 million on the mini-MLE with a replica of his high school championship trophy and a box of Crumbs cupcakes. He’s the perfect 10th man for this squad.
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 5.6 points, 2.6 assists, 36.2% FG, 35.3% 3FG, 10.9 PER.
I'm headed home!!!!— Sebastian Telfair (@BassyS31T) July 5, 2013
Homecoming continues with the rumored return of city legend Sebastian Telfair. Even without the ability to shoot (only a career 39 percent shooter), Bassy Telfair has carved out a niche as a solid reserve NBA point guard on some bad teams throughout his career.
The Knicks need a spark plug, and Bassy can be that change-of-pace guy. He’s always been strong despite his stature and plays his best ball on the biggest stages.
Even though his “I’m headed home!!!!” tweet was a little premature, it’s not hard to see Telfair living life as the third point guard on this certain playoff team. There are some other options to consider, for sure, but the Knicks will definitely look at the dude who has given so much to the city he calls home.
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 7.1 points, 2.2 assists, 45.3% FG, 37.3% 3FG, 11.8 PER.
So Aaron Brooks, how was China?
Instead of waiting around for the lockout season to begin a couple years ago, the University of Oregon alumnus took his talents to the Eastern Hemisphere.
Since then, Brooks has never regained his NBA footing. Aaron was picked up by a terribly run Sacramento team that already had about 40 point guards (hyperbole!) and then traded to a Rockets team that had no use for his one-on-one abilities in their heavy handed three-point barrage.
Still, Aaron Brooks has had his share of NBA moments. He’s won the Most Improved Player award, was around during that 22-game winning streak back in 2008 and gave the Los Angeles Lakers all they could handle in that awkward seven-game series they played while losing Yao Ming in 2009.
Brooks has shown flashes of ability, shoots a decent percentage from three and is a solid value addition for the New York Knicks as a third guard with some juice.
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 3.4 points, 36.9% FG, 6.4 PER.
The Eastern Conference is littered with effective wing tandems, and the Knicks will need to have able bodies to defend these talented types. Iman Shumpert is a great defender, but even he’ll need someone to spot him minutes to get a breather in tough regular-season game stretches.
Enter Dahntay Jones. Jones isn’t a scorer by any means, but he is one of the NBA’s top defenders when given opportunity. He’s played alongside Carmelo in the Rockies and knows how to affect the game without touching the rock.
In a conference with guys who can get buckets, it’s nice to have multiple guys capable of making things tough for talented opponents.