New York Knicks: Who They Can Get to Help Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire
While the core is complete with the acquisition of Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups and Amare Stoudemire, the bench, led by Anthony Carter after Billups' injury pushed usual sixth man Toney Douglas into the starting lineup, is in need of reinforcements.
Walsh's job this offseason will no doubt be to replace the likes of Jared Jeffries, Shelden Williams and Roger Mason with players that, when placed in another team, can enter the rotation and contribute right away.
So given the salary cap constraints, who can the Knicks sign?
Note: All salary figures given in the following slides are according to ESPN.com
Dominic McGuire: Currently with the Charlotte Bobcats (2011 Salary: $211,084)
Who he will replace : No one. Reason? See below.
His Role: Perimeter defender. No one plays defense right now in New York.
Possibility of him leaving: Hard to say. While he did get some minutes in Charlotte, it was mainly due to the lack of wing players after Stephen Jackson went down with an injury.
Possibility of him joining the Knicks: I don't think McGuire will be coveted come offseason, so if the Knicks offer him a contract, he should join. While he is incapable of scoring, he is a nice wing defender who blocks shots and grab rebounds.
Ronnie Price: Currently with the Utah Jazz (2011 Salary: $1.3 Million)
Who he will replace : Anthony Carter (2011 Salary: $854,389)
His Role: Third string point guard. Play defense when required.
Possibility of him joining the Knicks: With so many good point guards in the NBA right now, Price should not expect his telephone to be ringing constantly.
Price is a good player to have if he is the 10th or 11th player in your squad, and should the Knicks offer him a contract, they have a good chance in getting him.
Jason Kapono: Currently with the Philadelphia 76ers (2011 Salary: $6.6 Million)
Who he will replace: Roger Mason Jr. (2010-11 salary: $1.4 million)
His Role: Spot-up three-point shooter
Possibility of him leaving: Highly likely. He left the rotation a few months into the season and is now rarely used by 76ers coach Doug Collins.
Possibility of him joining the Knicks: Kapono is not going to get $6.6 million come this free agency, and while every team needs a shooter, he shot horrendously poor this season (12.5 percent).
However, in coach Mike D'Antoni's system, everyone has the permission to shoot, and once his confidence picks up, he should be making threes in no time. It is unlikely that he will be coveted by multiple teams, and should the Knicks attempt to sign him, they have a good chance.
Rasual Butler: Currently with the Chicago Bulls (2011 Salary: $211,084)
Who he will replace : Possibly Shawne Williams (2011 Salary: $854,389)
His role: Spot-up three-point shooter
Possibility of him leaving: While Butler is enjoying the playoffs atmosphere with the Bulls, he failed to beat out Keith Bogans, Kyle Korver or Ronnie Brewer as one of the 2-guards in the rotation. Highly likely he will leave.
Possibility of him joining the Knicks: Like with Kapono, D'Antoni's system will no doubt provide Butler opportunities to shoot the ball. If Knicks offer him a contract, Butler will more than likely take it.
Joel Przybilla: Currently with the Charlotte Bobcats (2011 Salary: $7.7 Million)
Who he will replace : Jared Jefferies (2010-11 Salary: $221,136)
His Role: Rebounds, rebounds and rebounds
Possbility of him leaving: Highly likely. He only joined the Bobcats because they wanted an expiring contract in exchange for Gerald Wallace.
Possbility of him joining the Knicks: I see the Knicks using their middle-level exception on a big man, and while the Kings' Samuel Dalembert may be a better option, after a great end to the season I can see him being coveted.
Hence, Przybilla seems like a more likely option. He is injury-prone, but he provides what the Knicks want and need.
Anthony Parker: Currently with the Cleveland Cavaliers (2011 Salary: $2.8 Million)
Who he will replace: No one. But he should get some of the minutes that are distributed among Bill Walker and Roger Mason right now.
His Role: Three-point shooter
Possibility of him leaving: Highly likely. Cleveland is in rebuilding mode, and with Manny Harris and Christian Eyenga's emergence, they don't need Parker.
Possibility of him joining the Knicks: If there is any money left in the MLE after signing Przybilla or if the bi-annual exception is available, I can see Parker offered a contract by the Knicks.
While I love Landry Fields just as many New Yorkers do, his performance against the Celtics was underwhelming at best, and having a veteran like Parker behind him as an insurance policy would be useful.
Don't Worry Knicks Fans, There Is a Bright Future Ahead
Notice a trend in the player's roles I have mentioned? That's because that's all the Knicks need: consistent 3-point shooters, rebounders and perhaps a more steady point guard who can take the ball handling duties while Douglas move to the 2 spot.
Right now, I rate the Knicks bench to be worse than the Heat's bench, and the Heat had just one off-season to put it all together. Granted, many pieces were traded away mid-season for Carmelo, but surely the Knicks could have muster a better bench than this.
A healthy Kelenna Azubuike and reversing the decision in waiving Corey Brewer would not change my opinion of the current bench either.
However, fortunately for James Dolan, Donnie Walsh and Spike Lee (although Spike wouldn't have cared if the Knicks became the Nets of 2009-10) , the future is bright with the Knicks. Just replace the duds with the studs and the Knicks become a playoff contender for years to come.
Time to shine, Mr. Walsh.
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