NBA Free Agent Rumors: LeBron James and the New York Knicks' Plan B
Plan A for the Knicks revolves around two players: Dwayne Wade and LeBron James.
Signing either would be a coup. Signing both would require a parade down the Canyon of Heroes.
Plan A is at best about a 50-50 proposition.
What is the Knicks Plan B? Over the next few pages, I offer one man's projection of a roster that can work in Mike D'Antoni's seven seconds or less offense.
Eddy Curry should be bought out of his contract or be convinced to retire.
He has not played in two years and his heart has never been in basketball. That move will free up money to sign two free agents to man the position:
Tyson Chandler is unlikely to command a big contract. Following two injury shortened years, the Knicks can take an educated gamble and offer a two year $12 million or a three year $18 million deal with an early opt out clause.
If the Knicks can get the '06 to '08 version of Chandler, this is a steal even if he opts out after one year.
To complement the defensive effort that Chandler would bring, bringing back a former Knick in Channing Frye would be another smart decision.
Frye's suitors would be limited to the Suns and Knicks as his career year came in direct relation to the offense played.
A similar offer of two years for $12 million or three years for $18 million would seem a fair price to pay.
David Lee is a nice player and really wants to stay in NY.
But I think that the Knicks will look to move David Lee in a sign and trade. The most sensible location for Lee would be Chicago, with the Knicks taking back Kirk Hinrich.
In Lee's place, the Knicks should bring in Amar'e Stoudemire. A max contract at $17 million per year is required to retain his services.
This is a high cost, but the other options have warts of their own. Amar'e is the best fit because of his athleticism and familiarity with the offense.
The Knicks are actually happy with their small forward mix.
Danilo Gallinari is arguably the top shooter under the age of 25 in the league. Don't let his paltry 43 percent FG deceive you. Gallinari hit 46 percent of his two point field goals and 38 percent of his three point field goals.
His overall FG percentage is reflective of the volume of three point shots attempted.
With minor improvements to his percentages (say from 46 percent to 48 percent on two pointers, from 38 percent to 40 percent on three pointers, and from 82 percent to 85 percent on free throws) you are looking at a 20 point scorer without a single play being run through him.
Backing up at both the small forward and shooting guard spots will be fellow Knick Wilson Chandler.
If this is your sixth man, you are looking at a contending team. The hope here is that Chandler develops into a Vinnie "The Microwave" Johnson type of scorer off the bench.
He also has the length and desire to be an effective defender with the first or second units.
Joe Johnson would be a wise pick up for the Knicks.
He is familiar with the seven second or less offense and would be an ideal pick and roll partner for Stoudemire.
Johnson's skill set rivals that of Dwayne Wade. He can facilitate or be a scorer from the two guard position.
With his length and athleticism, he can be a defensive force, particularly if he has a stop sign backing him up at center.
Kirk Hinrich is not the ideal guard for the seven second or less offense. I like bringing him in via a sign and trade for two reasons.
Character: Hinrich is a winner who will bring toughness to the team. I think that his character will fit in nicely with both Stoudemire and Johnson.
Contract: Just two years at $9 million. If it does not work out, the Knicks can simply slide him back to a backup roll for '11 to '12 or trade him as an expiring contract for an eventual run at CP3.
Backing him up will be current Knick Toney Douglas.