Free Agency 2011: If Chris Paul Can't Go to New York, Get Thomas and Hill
I'm a Knicks fan (from Indiana nonetheless, if that makes any sense at all). It stems from my time of being 12 years old, when my days of loving to watch Michael Jordan ended.
I was drawn to an eighth-seeded Knicks team in the last lockout-shortened season of 1998-1999. I believe my Knicks went 27-23, a .540 winning percentage which, in this era's Eastern Conference, is probably good for sixth seed in most years.
Then along came Marbury and Keith Van Horn. With that, came an eighth seed again, but a loss to the Nets. Along came Larry Brown, and his feuding with Marbury.
I don't even need to mention Isaiah Thomas in all of this, he constantly created a fiasco. Finally, the Knicks completely got rid of him and in came Donnie Walsh and Mike D'Antoni.
With them was a faster offense, and eventually, a very exciting one. It was during all of this I began to have a fond appreciation for David Lee, who I regret had to be a casualty of the LeBron sweepstakes (although we came away with the third best from that free agent class in Amare Stoudemire. And now, we all know where we're at).
Chris Paul? I do not believe at all we see him until next summer, if at all.
With the new collective bargaining agreement, he'll have to take a big pay cut. I do not know how willing he is to do this, nor do I know if Amare and Carmelo can even restructure their contracts.
Anyway, since I do not really believe New York will see Chris Paul except in a Hornet uniform, here is my "Christmas wish list" of free agents New York should pursue. These will be ones that will still allow the possibility of Paul joining the team around the trade deadline or next summer.
Grant Hill, Phoenix
I'd LOVE to see Grant Hill in a Knicks uniform. A great defender at his age, he can still score and will thrive with Mike D'Antoni again. He would be a sixth man of the year candidate, playing probably 30 minutes a game in a high powered offense where he would lead the second unit. He would be great in the locker room and add another piece that makes New York fun again.
I seriously doubt the possibility of this happening. He's going somewhere ready to win now, such as Miami or perhaps Chicago? Why? This is just speculation of course. But he's older and doesn't have a championship. Why come to New York when they're still flawed and have proved nothing? But...if he's interested in New York for a one year veteran's minimum deal, then by all means, sign him.
Kurt Thomas, Chicago
I'd love to see Kurt Thomas back in New York, but I think it's a foregone conclusion he's not leaving Chicago. He's made his money and just wants the prestige of a championship. With the Bulls still having an intact core, he'll be that much closer.
However, bring him in if you can. He can take some pressure off of Stoudemire and add defense to a VERY porous Knicks defense. Or whatever you call that "attempt" they make. He can still hit open shots and could get plenty of them with Anthony and Stoudemire out there on the floor. And even with his moniker of being the oldest player in the league, he played over 40 minutes in multiple games last year.
Whoever gets him will do so at the minimum. And for a big body that's tested and very capable, that's a good deal.
Jeff Foster, Indiana
I had a hard time deciding whether to put Jeff Foster here or Troy Murphy. Both are fantastic rebounders. Murphy is a much better scorer, but Foster is a solid on ball defender and hustles with everything he's got for loose balls and rebounds. He could start (probably only play 20 minutes per game at this point) but would be better suited coming off of the bench.
Not expecting him to sign with New York but apparently they have reached out to him. I expect him to return to the Pacers though. Or simply retire. He has had injury issues recently.
Michael Redd, Milwaukee
Hard to believe Michael Redd is just 3 years removed from Team USA. He's missed MUCH of the past two seasons but has been a prolific scorer throughout his career--especially after Ray Allen was traded away to Seattle. Can he contribute after such a devastating injury and missing so much time? If he's willing to sign for cheap, I'd take a chance on him. The Knicks duo of Stoudemire and Anthony will command double teams, creating a ton of opportunities for Redd.
Whether Redd would start, or Landry Fields, or whoever--doesn't matter to me. I'd just love to see Redd splashing three point shots in the Garden all season long.
Shawne Williams, New York
Why is Shawne Williams on this list? Well, he's the one I want the most out of all of these free agents. He played for New York. He knows the system. He's a very legitimate three point threat. If he's willing to sign for somewhat of a cheaper price (I think he would easily command the most money out of all these players), he's also the only one I would give more than one year too.
I honestly feel that he will be back. I would think he might be thankful to New York for helping him salvage his career, and the double teams the other Knicks will command will only make him look good. So...Shawne? Hope to see you in blue and orange next year.
In Conclusion: Other Notables...
Those are my top 5. You'll notice I left off the more expensive free agents. I don't expect to really see any of these players other than Williams.
Some others I wouldn't mind for the right price would be Troy Murphy, Josh McRoberts, Chuck Hayes, Jason Kapono, Josh Howard, and Jared Jeffries would be welcome back if he doesn't start. I'd rather have someone else starting.
Anyone else you other Knick fans would like?