The New York Knicks have landed free-agent point guard Beno Udrih.
A league source told Newsday's Al Iannazzone that Udrih agreed to a one-year deal with the team, ending New York's long pursuit of another floor general.
Beno Udrih will sign a one-year deal with the Knicks according to a league source.— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) August 8, 2013
ESPN New York's Ian Begley has a couple details:
#Knicks and Beno Udrih have come to terms on. 1-year deal for the veteran's minimum.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) August 8, 2013
The move comes as both a shock and a relief.
Udrih earned just under $7.4 million last season, 75-plus percent more than he'll be bringing home in New York. In a league brimming with talented point guards, the market for his services must not have been too extensive, otherwise he wouldn't have accepted such a significant pay cut.
According to ESPN's Marc Stein, Udrih had actually narrowed down his search to two teams: the Knicks and the Memphis Grizzlies. Though he was supposed set up face-to-face meetings with both parties in the coming week, he chose New York before it got that far.
Udrih was down to Knicks and Grizz and set up face-to-face meetings with both teams this week. But sources say he chose Knicks last night— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 8, 2013
Knicks fans can now breathe a sigh of relief.
Udrih isn't the All-Star point man Carmelo Anthony reportedly pined for, via the New York Post's Marc Berman, but he adds much needed depth to a point guard rotation comprised of only Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni.
For a team like New York that often chooses to run with two point men in smaller lineups, housing only a pair of them wasn't enough. The Knicks needed another body to plug into the lineup.
At the price they're paying, they couldn't have done any better than Udrih.
He's averaging 9.1 points and 3.6 assists per game for his career, but upon being traded from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Orlando Magic last season, his production increased to 10.2 and 6.1, respectively, to close out the season.
His 35.2 percent three-point clip will also be of extreme value to an organization that lives and dies by the deep ball.
If only everyone on New York's roster came as cheap as Udrih.
Stein says that Udrih's cap hold is for less than $900,000, but it takes the Knicks more than $16 million past the luxury tax threshold.
Cap hit on Udrih is less than 900K for Knicks but takes them more than $16M beyond tax threshold. So 2013-14 NYK tax bill up to $32,341,250— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 8, 2013
Including what they must now pay in taxes, ESPN's Brian Windhorst writes that New York's payroll has ballooned to nearly $120 million.
Knicks have agreed to terms with PG Beno Udrih for $1.27M, according to sources. Knicks payroll with luxury is now $119,800,137— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) August 8, 2013
That's just the cost of overpaying half your roster, I suppose.
How do you feel about the Knicks signing Beno Udrih?
The biggest key, however, more than the money, is that the Knicks filled a gaping hole on the cheap (taxes aside). Udrih was a huge get for this team.
Amar'e Stoudemire, J.R. Smith and 'Melo prefer to dominate the rock, and the Knicks needed another point guard who could serve as a spot-up shooter to complement their playing styles. Udrih buried 43.3 percent of his spot-up treys last year, according to Synergy Sports (subscription required), a number that fits right into their offensive game plan.
This time of year, season-altering signings are rare, and Udrih's deal hardly guarantees a championship. But he's what the Knicks needed, and as far as the dog days of free agency go, his arrival is the equivalent of a late-summer coup.