Being the parent of two children under 5, I know what it’s like to have someone fixated on an object of desire. From an adult’s perspective it’s amazing how children can break social norms when they’re obsessing. Whether it’s wanting to hear that song for the 12th time in a row, saying your name for the 30th straight time, or asking for something you just said no to, kids take infatuation to a whole other level.
Being a Knick fan, it’s hard not to notice the similarities between children and sports fans. New York has been engrossed in getting Carmelo Anthony in orange and blue, and I’ve just about had enough of that. Luckily so has Alan Hahn! In a recent column, he talks about some of the other options the Knicks have if Carmelo heads elsewhere. Here’s my take on his take:
* – PORTLAND: … Both Marcus Camby and Andre Miller would be great fits. If not Camby, who last season expressed a strong interest in returning to New York, Joel Przybilla could be another option. With the revelation of his knee issues, does anyone take a chance on acquiring Brandon Roy? Probably not with five years and $82M left on his contract.
Sorry, I just don’t see Andre Miller fitting in with this team. He’s a career 20.5% shooter from downtown, and has never cracked 30% in a season. Guys in D’Antoni’s offense get a ton of looks from three; the lowest average for a non-center this year is 2.8 3pa/36. Camby has never been an efficient scorer, but he’s rebounding and blocking shots at a good rate. Meanwhile Przybilla is like Camby but with efficient scoring. Unfortunately la scimmia vaniglia is often la scimmia feriti (injured). Obviously a healthy Przybilla is the best option of the group, especially since his contract expires this summer (Camby has 2 years left).
CLEVELAND: Anderson Varejao is a franchise favorite and loved by the fans there, but his contract is an albatross, especially when you consider how he’s not nearly as effective without LeBron on the floor. But next to Stoudemire, he’d be the perfect complement for his hustle, rebounding and defense.
The NBA’s answer to Troy Polamalu would be a bit reminiscent of Charles Oakley. Varejao is a low volume-high efficiency scorer, a good rebounder, and a tenacious defender. But that contract would hinder the Knicks in the long term. It doesn’t expire until 2014, and takes up $7M-$9M a year. My brain says he brings a few things the Knicks need, but I’m not sure if he fits with this team, especially with that kind of commitment.
* – MEMPHIS: … Mayo is miserable as a reserve in his third NBA season. The cost-conscious Grizz would move him, I’m told, to save the $5.6M salary next season and then restricted free agency in 2012. Mayo would be a nice third guard — he’s not really a point guard, but he could be effective in the pick-and-roll — and another young player to develop. Forget uberbust Hasheem Thabeet, but another thought off that roster is Marc Gasol, who is headed toward restricted free agency. He is the perfect big man for the Knicks system — high IQ player who can pass, shoot, rebound and defend the rim — but what I’m hearing is the Grizz don’t want to lose another Gasol. They’ll throw money at him just like they did Rudy Gay. So with that in mind, if you’re the Knicks, do you consider Zach Randolph?
Hahn’s right that Mayo is more of a combo guard than point guard. Essentially he appears to be a taller Toney Douglas, if you take away the steals and throw in a better three point shot. At $5M per year (expires next summer) and only 23 years old, it’s not a bad gamble. Marc Gasol would obviously be a coup; he’s an uber-efficient center that can pass and defend a little. I can see him playing a Lee-esque perimter point center role for D’Antoni. I’ll skip over to Zach Randolph. Ummm… make that I’ll skip over Zach Randolph. Like Miller, he’s an awful three point shooter (28.4%), and he’ll get (and miss) a lot of them for coach D.
* – ATLANTA: Following our trend of bringing back ex-Knicks who fared well in D’Antoni’s system, Jamal Crawford … Crawford could be an option for the Knicks as a free agent.
* – GOLDEN STATE: [Monta Ellis is] a ridiculously prolific scorer who might make for a great pick-and-roll tandem with Stoudemire. Then again, he might also be a maddening teammate for Stoudemire, considering how little Ellis looks to pass. Probably not the right fit here, especially since he’d have to play the two-guard spot and just does not defend.
For some reason Crawford has become an efficient scorer now that he’s left New York. If I could be guaranteed that would be the Jamal the Knicks would get, I’d take him on a half year rental. But to sign him as a free agent seems to be a bad move. I can’t imagine him getting more efficient now that he’s hit 30. And you can get 90% of what Jamal brings at 25% of the cost (he’s making $10M this year). You could say the same for Ellis (OK, maybe only 80%), but his contract runs at $11m per year until 2014.
* – MINNESOTA: … Ridnour has the skill set and court vision to run this system well, but the T-Wolves like him for all the same reasons on a young team, especially with Jonny Flynn just coming back from injury. They’d be more than willing to give up Sebastian Telfair, whom the Knicks have considered, but is he really an upgrade over Toney Douglas?
Ridnour would be a solid but unspectacular backup point guard, while Telfair would be cheaper with perhaps a tad higher upside. Ridnour has 4 years left at a reasonable $4M per; Bassy’s $2.7M expires this year. Considering how much Kahn likes all his guards to be pointy, I don’t see Ridnour being pried away cheaply.
* – KINGS: Jason Thompson is a nice player who is struggling there and the New Jersey native might do well next to a star big man such as Stoudemire. Thompson can rebound, which the Knicks need, and can run the floor. His mid-range game is decent and he also has good hands. … Another thought off this roster? Beno Udrih.
Jason Thompson is young, and can rebound. But his efficiency is sub-par (52.8 TS%), and he doesn’t block a lot of shots (1.0 blk/36). He’s got 3 years left on a deal that peaks at $4M, so as a backup they could do a lot worse. But if I’m looking for a decent big man, and prefer a little upside, then I’d rather take a shot at Nick Fazekas, who is pulling down 10.5 reb/36 for Reno. As for Beno, is it me or does his 3p% fluctuate by 50 or more points every year? Additionally his contract is a bit large for a backup PG ($7.8M in 2013). One guy that Hahn didn’t mention is Luther Head – a ridiculously cheap combo guard, although it’s questionable if he’ll see any rotation minutes in New York.
OTHER IDEAS: The Bobcats are in a tailspin and you can imagine what that’s going to lead to with impetuous personalities like Larry Brown and Michael Jordan in the mix. There’s little off that roster to like, but remember Boris Diaw was always loved by this coaching staff and has played alongside Stoudemire in the past in Phoenix.
Hahn goes on to mention other players as well including Jared Jeffries, Rafer Alston, Jason Williams, Earl Watson, and Robin Lopez. Of these only Lopez is of any serious interest. At only 22 he’s a highly efficient-medium usage shot blocker. If he were a better rebounder, he’d be a shoe in. Instead he’d be a good alternative to Turiaf when the Knicks need a little more scoring. Certainly that would be a no-brainer.
As for the Bobcats, Hahn fails to bring up Gerald Wallace; a player I’m a bit torn on. His efficiency was high for 5 years (TS% from 54.7% to 58.6%), he’d probably get more good looks around the rim for D’Antoni, and he’s a good rebounder for a small forward. Unfortunately for an athletic guy his blocked shots aren’t as you’d expect, and he’s another player who struggles from downtown (31.7% 3p%). His contract runs 3 years topping at $11.3M, and who knows what Jordan will ask for his services. Finally, he’s similar to a player New York already has, Wilson Chandler, although I guess that wouldn’t be an issue to have two athletic players of that type on the floor at the same time.
All in all, there are some good players to be had, but others that New York should avoid. From my perspective Gasol and Przybilla should be their top options, with Lopez, Ridnour, and Camby right behind. If they grabbed Varejao, Mayo, or Wallace, then the Knicks should make sure D’Antoni is on board with the move, good, bad, or ugly.
One thing we know about Donnie Walsh is that he’s active, although he’s less impulsive than his predecessor. If the Knicks don’t get Carmelo Anthony, it won’t be because Walsh didn’t try. Luckily he’ll more likely than not bring some other players in an effort to improve this team. And for those fixated on a certain former Orangeman, here are a bunch of players to get that other song out of your head.