Knicks Rumors: Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford and Other Players Linked to New York

Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistNovember 28, 2011

Knicks Rumors: Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford and Other Players Linked to New York

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    Now that the NBA lockout is over, the New York Knicks are going to be extremely active—in the rumor mill, anyway.

    Prior to the lockout, the Knicks were immersed in a flurry of trade and free-agency rumors, a trend that is going to continue now that a tentative agreement to end the lockout has been reached.

    New York is shrouded in uncertainty at both the point guard and center positions, which accounts for a majority of the players they have been linked to.

    Factor in that the Knicks are also trying to bolster their perimeter offense that basically only has Landry Fields and Carmelo Anthony as current focal points, and you have the fixings for an explosion of potential moves.

    If nothing else, these rumors will make for an incredibly busy offseason in terms of deliberation.

Free-Agency Rumors: Samuel Dalembert

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    Samuel Dalembert has named the Knicks as one of best potential fits for him and it is possible that his feelings will be reciprocated on New York's part.

    The Knicks desperately need another big man to help spread the floor as well as relieve some of the low-post burden off of Amar'e Stoudemire's shoulders. Dalembert is not much of a threat on the offensive end, but he still opens up the floor and possesses a high defensive IQ.

    New York has full use of the mid-level exception, so it is possible they could use it to bring Dalembert to the Big Apple, as long as he is willing to take a pay cut.

    That being said, the Knicks have to be careful. Dalembert may not be apt to sign a one-year deal and keeping him long-term can vastly affect their Chris Paul and Dwight Howard aspirations. 

    If Dalembert is not open to a short-term contract or insists that he be obtained through a sign-and-trade, New York should pass on the veteran center.

Free-Agency Rumors: Kurt Thomas

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    There seems to be mutual interest between the Knicks and Kurt Thomas in bringing the oldest active player in the NBA back to New York.

    Thomas is not incredibly tall, but he has a never-ending supply of toughness. He would help open up the floor for New York and take some of the burden off Stoudemire in the low post. He is still a strong defender, and can hit the baby-jumper when open.

    A one-year deal is likely something that Thomas would be amenable to, which makes him a great fit for the Knicks. There may be better candidates out there in terms of effectiveness, but every move the team makes is geared toward preserving cap space for next summer's free-agency frenzy.

    Thomas adds depth to the Knicks roster while preserving their big three aspirations. That makes him an ideal target.

Free-Agency Rumors: Wilson Chandler

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    If Wilson Chandler does in fact get released in China, interest in a return to New York would be prevalent on behalf of both parties.

    Chandler thrived in an increased role with the team last season and the organization was sad to see him go in the Carmelo Anthony trade. Chandler would have to be willing to give the Knicks a discount, but given New York has the ability to use the entire mid-level exception, it is not out of the question.

    Another roadblock though is the fact that Chandler is a restricted free agent. The Denver Nuggets have the right to match any offer he receives, and are not about to let the Knicks walk away with another one of their key players, especially at a discount.

    This free-agency rumor could rapidly turn into a trade rumor as a sign-and-trade could be the more likely scenario in which Chandler and the Knicks reunite. 

Trade Rumors: Marcus Camby

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    The Knicks attempted to obtain Marcus Camby in the Carmelo Anthony deal, and bringing the veteran center back to New York is something the team will likely revisit in their search for a big man.

    Camby is 37, but still a defensive guru. He can block shots and grab rebounds in bunches, and he runs the floor well for his age. If that isn't enough, then the fact that his $9.2 million salary comes off the books next summer is.

    While Camby would be a great fit both in terms of immediacy and the Knicks future plans, his continued effectiveness could set his price tag fairly high. The Knicks would unwise to give up any of the remaining youthful talent they have for an interim center.

    However, should the right deal present itself, expect New York to jump on it.

Free-Agency Rumors: Kwame Brown

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    The Knicks are exploring all their options at center, which is why Kwame Brown has popped up on their radar.

    Brown never became the player that he was expected to be, but his size would be a blessing of sorts for a height-lacking team like New York. 

    Despite being a clear disappointment, Brown is still athletic. He at the very least helps plug the middle against opposing offenses and can still rebound.

    Thanks to the unfortunate direction his career went, Brown is likely to be both affordable and amenable to a short-term contract. This is something the Knicks are very interested in, ergo their interest in him.

    Brown may not propel the Knicks to a championship run, but he ensures their big three hopes are crushed.

Steve Nash

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    Steve Nash has piqued the Knicks' attention for quite some time now, and the fact that the team drafted Iman Shumpert, whom the Phoenix Suns had a strong interest in, could be a sign that the team is prepared to strongly pursue him once again.

    Nash is one of the best floor generals in the league. At 37, he hasn't missed a beat and has stayed as sharp as ever. He has already thrived under Mike D'Antoni once before, and he is one of the few point guards capable of balancing a star-studded offense.

    The Knicks are also drawn to Nash because of his expiring contract. While Chauncey Billups' deal comes off the books as well, Nash presents more of a threat to opposing defenses than the oft-injured Billups.

    Nash keeps the Knicks' Chris Paul aspirations afloat, and also presents them with other options, like signing Dwight Howard next summer and holding onto him at a discount.

    Given the Suns' current state of rebuilding, it is arguably a waste for them to hold onto a seasoned veteran who still holds substantial trade value.

    Nash does not have much of a future in Phoenix, but he could have one in New York. 

Free-Agency Rumors: Jamal Crawford

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    Jamal Crawford is now represented by Andy Miller, a New Jersey-based agent, which leaves the possibility of a return to the Knicks wide open.

    Crawford is a versatile perimeter player whom the Knicks would welcome back on their roster. He takes some of the burden off of both Billups and Fields, as he is able to play both the 1 and 2 positions.

    For Crawford to sign with the Knicks, he would have to be willing to take the mid-level exception, a steep pay cut that he may not be open to. However, given that he is fond of New York, it is a possibility.

    The best chance the Knicks have at acquiring Crawford is via sign-and-trade with the Atlanta Hawks. Taking on a longer-term contract is sure to have an impact on the Knicks ability to form a big three, though.

    Unless Crawford is willing to take the mid-level or New York is confident that they could flip him in time to enter the Chris Paul sweepstakes, he will remain a long shot to return.

Trade Rumors: Chris Paul

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    Chris Paul remains the most coveted player that has been linked to the Knicks.

    With the new CBA allowing for extend-and-trades, the door is wide open for Paul to land in New York. How and when he will get there, though, is uncertain.

    The Knicks' best bet is to sign Paul outright next summer, when he is an unrestricted free agent. That being said, the Hornets are not likely to allow themselves to become victims after the Cavaliers and "The Decision."

    More likely than not, the Hornets will deal Paul before he has an opportunity to leave without them getting anything of value in return. However, now that bird rights are virtually non-transferrable in sign-and-trades, Paul has no reason—financially anyway—to force his way out of New Orleans this season.

    This provision in the new CBA could be just the motivation Paul needs to stick it out with New Orleans or insist he will not sign an extension anywhere else. And once Paul shows a willingness to do this, the Hornets will be forced to take whatever the Knicks are offering for fear of winding up empty-handed.

    In order for the Knicks to obtain Paul in a trade, he must first show an inclination to wait until next summer to determine his future.

     

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