Knicks Rumors: New York Must Push Harder to Sign Free Agent JJ Barea

Eric BallFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 02: Jose Barea #11 of the Dallas Mavericks drives past Toney Douglas #23   of the New York Knicks  at Madison Square Garden on February 2, 2011 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

The New York Knicks need to stop flirting with Jamal Crawford and focus on swaying JJ Barea to the Big Apple.

Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix has reported the Knicks are making a "strong push" to secure Barea with a deal that would earn the guard around $5m a season.

After sending Chauncey Billups packing, only Toney Douglas is going to be a big part of the Knicks back court.

They made the first step to replenish the position by signing Mike Bibby to a one-year deal worth the veterans minimum. That's a nice move, but signing a 33-year-old with zero quickness left in his legs isn't going to lead to a title.

The Knicks need a point guard that has championship experience, a guard that can get to the paint at will and create wide open looks for his teammates. They need a guy that can install some toughness in a team that is lacking it.

Sound like a certain free agent?

Jose Juan Barea may only be 6'0" and 175 pounds, but he is the toughest little guy in the league. Remember the vicious clothesline he took from Andrew Bynum in the playoffs? He got up right away and acted like nothing had happened.

He is a spark that can really fire up his teammates and make everyone around him better. He may not be the greatest defender in the world, but he is more than familiar with the Knicks' other new addition in Tyson Chandler. He knows how to lead his defender to the 7'1" block machine.

The chemistry those two developed in their short time together was impressive. Putting two players with championship experience together on a team with veteran losers like the Knicks is a game-changer.

Crawford is a volume shooter that would take away way too many shots from Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. A reunion at Madison Square Garden is not what the Knicks need.

Barea is the perfect replacement for Billups and the Knicks instantly become a lot more dangerous if they are able to pull it off.

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