The New York Knicks have been busy this offseason as they acquired Andrea Bargnani from the Toronto Raptors, signed former Los Angeles Lakers small forward Metta World Peace and re-signed reigning Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith. Despite that, it appears as though their move-making is far from over.
New York has a fair amount of depth, but there is one glaring hole on its roster. That hole resides at point guard, as the Knicks currently have only two on their roster right now in the form of Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni. That proved to be a solid combination last season, but they are still looking to replace what they lost when Jason Kidd retired and became the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets.
Here is the latest chatter surrounding potential Knicks targets such as Mo Williams and Beno Udrih as their search for point guard depth continues this offseason.
It can be argued that former Utah Jazz point guard Mo Williams is the top commodity remaining on the free-agent market, so it should come as no surprise that the Knicks have taken interest in him. According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks would like to sign Williams, but they can only offer a minimum contract at best due to their salary cap situation. Berman also believes that Williams will favor signing with the Miami Heat if a minimum contract is his best option.
Even so, the Knicks are likely to explore all of their options, and Williams presumably is the best among them. Williams acted primarily as Utah's starting point guard last season, and although he missed some time due to injury, he was largely effective in that role. Williams was right around his career average with 13 points per game and he actually exceeded his career assists average as he dished out more than six helpers per contest.
Williams has point guard capabilities, but he is more of a combo guard, as he has a shoot-first mentality. That could potentially pose a problem since the Knicks already have a shoot-first guy coming off the bench in the form of Smith. Williams is a different player since he is also capable of getting his teammates involved, but there are some parallels as well. There is little doubt that Williams would be a Knick in a perfect world from the front office's perspective, but New York will be hard-pressed to sign him.
If the Knicks are unable to convince Williams to sign, then they may shift their focus to Beno Udrih. The Slovenian lefty has been a quality reserve and sometimes starter in the NBA for nine seasons, and he would presumably fit quite well with Felton and Prigioni. According to Marc Stein of ESPN, Udrih is similar to Williams in that the Knicks can only offer him a minimum contract, so he'll essentially have to take a pay cut in order to play in New York.
Although bringing in Udrih is far from a lock, it stands to reason that the Knicks have a better shot at securing him than they do Williams. Udrih is coming off a difficult one-and-a-half-year stint with the Milwaukee Bucks that saw him put up his worst numbers since 2006-07 due to a dip in playing time. Because of that, his stock is down from where it might have been a few years ago. Udrih was traded to the Orlando Magic at last season's deadline though, and he showed that he could still play by averaging more than 10 points and a career-high six assists per game.
Udrih's production would likely slip once again in New York since he would have to split playing time with Felton and Prigioni, but maybe the allure of playing for a winner will appeal to him. Udrih is an offensively-minded player, and it was clear last season that the Knicks have a friendly offensive system. Udrih would fit in nicely with New York's recent influx of foreign players as well, which could be a case of the Knicks taking a page out of the San Antonio Spurs' book.
The Knicks don't necessarily have to go the NBA route in order to bring in a third point guard as former Cal State Fullerton standout Bobby Brown has begun to generate some buzz. Brown signed with the Sacramento Kings as an undrafted free agent in 2008 and he went on to play parts of two seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers as well. Brown was never able to gain his footing at the NBA level, but he became a star in the Euro league last year as he averaged 19 points and five assists per game for Montepaschi Siena in Italy.
That showing caught the attention of some NBA teams, including the Knicks, according to Berman. While Berman believes that the Knicks would prefer Udrih, Brown could be their consolation prize. There is one obstacle standing in the way of such a move, though, as Brown recently signed with the Dongguan Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association. According to Stein, however, Brown's contract has an NBA out clause, so he can nullify the deal if an NBA team signs him by Aug. 15.
With that in mind, the Knicks don't necessarily have to hurry in order to figure out a resolution, but they don't have unlimited time either. It seems like Brown is viewed as a last resort since the Knicks would rather have a player who has played in the NBA recently. Brown doesn't have a great NBA track record, so it's possible that he isn't cut out for the league. If all of the other options are exhausted, though, Brown would definitely be worth taking a flier on.
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