Another season of Knicks basketball has past, and like always it was filled with good times, weird times, bad times. But mostly weird times. With our beloved Bockers so far over the cap they’d need a GPS to find their way back, potential free agency dealings are very limited.
That said, there are a couple of things to keep in mind as the period draws nearer. Not to mention a host of names I’d like to see don the blue and orange come fall. So let’s talk.
Not Every Big Signing Comes During the Summer
Remember that Asian-American point guard who stole the attention of, well, America back in 2012 and basically led the Knicks to the Playoffs? He was signed a couple of nights into the regular season. Before him was one Steve Novak, who came aboard about a week earlier. Then, midway into the 2012 campaign, J.R. Smith joined New York’s roster. Let’s not forget Kenyon Martin, who signed with the Knicks last March and was a huge impact on the team’s late-year Playoff push.
Notice the trend? Some of the most key rotation players in recent Knicks history weren’t signed in the July, but in December or March. With that in mind, there’s little reason to overreact to who the Knicks may or may not sign in the upcoming months. Free agents will still be looking for an NBA team to sign with in October, November, December, and so on. And when they do, the Knicks could very well be waiting.
Every Man Counts
This is related to the aforementioned point, but another mistake often made is automatically assuming that the 11th or 12th man on the roster is disadvantageous. Chris Copeland was a Summer League invite turned rotation player this past season, a journey not unlike Jeremy Lin’s in 2012 and Shawne Williams’ in 2011. These players twiddled their thumbs at the end of the bench night in and out — until they didn’t.
Every team signs one or two no-names to reside at the end of their bench, usually as insurance in case the injury bug shows up. The Knicks are no different, and writing off players who aren’t projected to be making an impact in the rotation amounts to a conviction without a trial. Where the Knicks would be in recent seasons if Jeremy Lin or Chris Copeland were relegated to the pine for the entirety of their respective tenures is a scary thought to fathom.
All listed names are players who I believe would be beneficial to the team and could realistically ink a contract with the Knicks, financially speaking.
Dahntay Jones: A veteran wing who’s game surrounds his defense, only unlike one Ronnie Brewer, he shoots the three at a 33% clip over his career.
Reggie Williams: A 6’6″ 26-year old lefty with untapped potential and a very impressive rookie year. Slipped ever since, but with more playing time he could blossom.
Marco Belinelli: A sharpshooting two-guard who was a key factor in the Chicago Bulls’ success last year who looks a lot like Haywire from “Prison Break.”
Darren Collison: Would probably have to use the mini-MLE to obtain him, but Collison’s a feisty and quick-as-lightning point guard who could perhaps one day reach his potential?
Timofey Mozgov: Please cue the “I’m Coming Home” promos.
Will Bynum: Another point guard with a need for speed, Bynum was the backup one for the Pistons last year, and filled up the stat sheet, averaging 18 points and 7 assists per-36 minutes.
Tyler Hansbrough: The Knicks could use a bit of crazy, but signing him for his size and work on the boards will suffice.
Matt Barnes: Could be a stretch to offer him the mini-MLE, but what a year from the veteran Barnes. The true Sixth Man of the Year in my book, Barnes ignited the Clippers defensively everytime he stepped on the court while working the offensive glass and spreading the floor night in and night out.
Keyon Dooling: The Knicks can use some defense in the backcourt, and Dooling’s extremely viable at the end of the floor. The 33-year old also has a career 35% shooting stroke from downtown.
Chase Budinger: A 6’7″ wing with a 36% shooting tough from long distance over his career, Budinger ad a tremendous impact on the Houston Rockets as a rookie coming off the bench, but regressed since and suffered a torn meniscus last season, allowing him to only play in 23 contests.
Chris Copeland and Pablo Prigioni: MATCH ANY OFFER. GET THEM BACK HERE.
Toney Douglas: You already know.
DeJuan Blair: Sliding out of Gregg Popovich’s rotation after looking like the steal of the Draft in 2010, Blair is a hustler on the boards and a solid finisher as well. He also plays without ACLs, which is amazing.
Sebastian Telfair: A Brooklynite born and raised, Telfair was sound defensively last year at the point guard. That’s enough for me.
Randy Foye: A 41% three-point marksman last season with the Jazz, this Draft bustee could find a role in New York as a floor-spacer off the bench, and could even be a potential starter if he could learn how to play some defense.
Martell Webster: A strong 3-and-D wing who could potentially sign for the mini-MLE? Sign him, start him, and give him the keys to the city please.