NBA Trade Rumors: Exploring the Knicks Options at Point Guard Post-Billups
The New York Knicks made a big splash this Friday inking seven-foot defensive star Tyson Chandler to a four-year, 60 million dollar deal. Coupled with incumbent stars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, the signing assures the Knicks will boast one of the top front-line in the NBA.
The move was a surprising one, as the Knicks have been in hot pursuit of superstar point guard Chris Paul this entire truncated offseason.
The move came with a heavy price, and not just the 60 million bucks. In order for the move to be made, the Knicks were forced to cut former NBA Finals MVP Chauncey Billups to make room under the salary cap.
With no other point guard on the roster and Paul out of reach at this point, New York will have to fill the huge void created by Billups. Fortunately, there are a variety of options the Knicks can target in the days leading up to the draft.
Jonny Flynn has become the afterthought of the great point-guard draft of 2009.
As the second point guard taken after foreign import Ricky Rubio (sorry guys, Tyrek Evans is not a point guard), Flynn started 81 games for the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves. His 13.5 points and 4.4 assist per game in 81 starts earned him NBA All-Rookie honors that season, and his career seemed to be off to a promising start.
A severe hip injury derailed his second season, limiting him to only 58 games last year. His diminished performance and poor shooting percentages (5.3 point and 3.4 assist on 37 percent shooting), coupled with his high turnover rate (1.6 assist to turnover ratio), landed the young guard in the Twin-City dog house.
Flynn was moved to the Houston Rocket in a draft day trade, in large part to clear the way for Rubio this upcoming season.
Jonny Flynn would come to the Knicks with many questions, but he has nothing but upside and could probably be had relatively cheaply. With the Rockets seemingly committed to hard-nosed point man Kyle Lowery and with Goran Dragic currently on the roster, it is hard to see where Flynn fits.
The Knicks flirted with the idea of drafting Flynn two years ago, and the home town product would be welcomed with open arms.
Flynn is a tremendous athlete, a feisty competitor and a natural leader. He has drawbacks, most notably his smallish stature (6'0" feet, 185 is a stretch) and his injury history. Yet, Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni has a way of maximizing the potential of point guards.
If Flynn could be had for a spare part like Tony Douglas, it could be worth the risk.
The phrase, "a motivated Baron Davis in—enter city name—could be dangerous" has almost become cliché, but nothing is closer to the truth.
His talent level is undeniable. To say he has not been able to "put it together" would be inaccurate. His career averages of 16.5 points and 7.3 assists and two All-Star appearances is proof that "B-Diddy" has had a great deal of success in his 12 season in the league.
Baron has also had great moments in big spots, the biggest probably in 2007 where he led an upstart Golden State Warriors team over the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in an unforgettable six-game series.
Baron, however, seems to battle with the dreaded disease of "Disinterest", an affliction that has haunted him throughout his career. He has come in to training camp severely out of shape on multiple occasions, and could have the worst shot selection of anyone considered a point in the entire NBA.
He has the ability to look great one game and terrible the next, and, at 32 years-old, it is questionable if Davis even really wants to play anymore.
Last year was a mixed bag for Davis. He was ridiculed for his fitness level by Clippers executives, but seemed energized and reinvigorated playing along side young superstar Blake Griffin.
He was traded to the god-awful Cleveland Cavaliers, where common sense would say Davis would be apt to tank the season. Instead, Baron actually played better as a Cav, averaging over 13 points and six assists, and seemed to play with unexpected vigor.
If he becomes an amnesty casualty, Davis's outside interests will no doubt lead him to a major market and, although Los Angeles would come to mind first, New York City will no doubt enter the realm of possibility.
Davis has star quality and proved last year that he can still be effective. A motivated Baron Davis in New York could be dangerous...
Probably one of the most confusing situations in the NBA is why Ramon Sessions can't keep a job.
Sessions was a mystery coming out of the University of Nevada, having his name called as the 56th pick in the 2007 NBA draft. He put up quality numbers toward the end of the 2008 season, averaging over 11 points and 11 assists during the last month of the season—including a 20 point, 24 assist and eight rebound effort against Chicago.
The performance would lead you to believe the Bucks had found a late-draft gem that they would plug into a starting role next season. Unfortunately for Sessions, the Bucks did not feel the same and the 6'3" combo guard was stuck in a time-share battle with fellow point guard Luke Ridnour.
Sessions still had a quality season average of 12.4 points and 5.7 assists. He made 39 starts in which he averaged 15.2 points and 7.5 assists, and had a spectacular 44 point, 12 assist effort versus the Detroit Pistons in early February.
Ramon decided to take his talents to Minnesota the following season, signing a free-agent deal with the T-Wolves. The deal was a miscalculation on Sessions' part, as the Wolves drafted two point guards in the draft.
Sessions found himself stuck behind Syracuse star Jonny Flynn for the entire season.
Sessions was traded in July 2010 to the Cleveland Cavs where he averaged 13.3 points and 5.2 assists, making 38 starts. The Cavs traded for Baron Davis and drafted freshmen phenom Kyrie Irving this summer, creating a familiar situation for the 25-year-old Sessions.
The fact on Sessions is this...if you play him, he will produce. While he may not be a "pure point guard", he can penetrate, score and distribute. He has the ability to get the the free-throw line and coverts at an acceptable 79 percent clip.
A deal for Sessions would probably cost the Knicks Landry Fields, but due diligence says the Knicks should explore the possibility.
Darryl Gerard Augustin Jr., by all accounts, had a breakout season in 2011.
Chosen ninth overall in the 2008 NBA draft, D.J. Augustin entered the league with the reputation as an efficient point guard with quality court vision and deep range on his jump shot.
Unable to wrestle the starting position from former North Carolina product Raymond Felton, Augustin excelled at his given role of spark-plug off the bench, averaging 11.8 points per game while connecting on nearly 44 percent of his three-point attempts.
His ability to score was a major plus for the Bobcats, who were able to play both Felton and Augustin in the back court together at times.
The sophomore jinx hit D.J. hard in 2009-2010 season.
While he was able to appear in all 80 games, Augustin was never able to regain his shooting touch. He averaged a disappointing 6.4 points per game on an abysmal 39 percent shooting. While he was able to connect on a respectable 39% from three-point range, he never really seemed to get on track throughout the course of the season.
From struggle in 2010 to revelation in 2011, Augustin had a career year last season.
Finally handed the starting point guard spot, he averaged a career best of 14.4 points and 6.1 assists over the course of 82 games. He was automatic from the charity stripe as well, connecting on over 90 percent of his free throw attempts, good for fourth in the NBA.
He was also incredibly sure-handed with the basketball. His 3.21 assist to turnover ratio ranked him sixth overall.
The future for D.J. Augustin is cloudy. While he proved himself last season as a viable point guard, the Bobcats chose to draft University of Connecticut point guard Kemba Walker with the ninth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, a situation eerily similar to Augustin's rookie season.
While like the Felton-Augustin situation, the Bobcats may choose to play the two at times together, such a diminutive back court does not seem to be a long-term solution. It is also unclear if after a quality 2011 season, that D.J. would welcome a sixth-man role if the team wanted to move Walker to the point.
With that in mind, the Bobcats may have motivation to move Augustin if they were able to acquire young, controllable talent. There could be interest in young swing-men Landry Fields or Iman Shumpert in exchange for the 23-year-old guard.