Knicks pick up Chauncey’s option
The good news is that the Knicks know who their point guard will be in 2011-12. The better news is it’s also looking like Donnie Walsh will be in New York for at least two more years, although nothing official has been released.
The bad news is that no less than six K-Bloggers put in a good amount of muscle analyzing the ins and outs, pros and cons of the Chauncey decision, which was going to be posted tonight. Instead, we’ve included a sort of Greatest Hits from the Chauncey analysis we had going before today’s announcement.
Also, stay tuned for a series of discussion points regarding the plethora of decisions the Knicks have in front of them heading into next season. We should have our first installment up by Friday.
Mike Kurylo: I’m torn on the issue. From my understanding there would have been a penalty for choosing not to re-sign Chauncey Billups. If the Knicks hadn’t picked up his contract for next year, he would have been on the books for his guaranteed $3.7M. Hence New York would only have saved about $10.5M. For 2012, the Knicks have 6 contracts, 1 player option (Turiaf), and 1 other team option (Walker), which leaves 7 roster spots open. Considering they’ll probably resign Shawne, and some other guys (Jeffries?, Carter?, Jerome Jordan?, draft picks?) there isn’t a lot of money leftover to grab a big free agent.
The unknowns of releasing Billups outweigh the unknowns of keeping him, so this is the safer choice. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice. Does he really fit this team? Not really. Can New York move his contract for yet another disgruntled superstar? Unlikely. Wouldn’t it be great to know what the new CBA holds before making this decision? Yes, but it ain’t gonna happen. A great team might find the right player to fit the $10M that New York is going to pay Billups over the next season. But the rest of the league else would probably blow it on a multi-year deal for some unworthy player.
Max Fisher-Cohen: Billups is a good player, but he’s old, and his game does not mesh well with the style the Knicks need to play in order to be a better team when Amaré and ‘Melo share the floor.
Perhaps part of this is that old habits die hard. Denver’s offense was centered around ‘Melo isolations, and Chauncey was a part of that. Maybe training camp will transform him into a pick and roll ninja. Maybe the reason he has struggled in the pick and roll has more to do with the diminished offensive weaponry the Knicks have.
Too many maybes for me…
Jim Cavan: During Billups’ six years in Detroit, the team netted an average pace of 87.2, finishing in the bottom five all five years. Four times they had the absolute slowest pace. Based largely on his tenure in the Motor City, many think Billups is entering a world he’s neither known nor seen in SSOL. Sure, the Nuggets finished with the 6th, 5th, and 2nd fastest pace in the league in their three years with Chauncey at the helm. But SSOL is a breed apart – a much more intricate and split-second dependent system than anything he saw in Denver.
The question isn’t whether Chauncey Billups is smart or talented enough to learn the system. Clearly he is. Rather, the question is whether a 35-year old Chauncey Billups can handle an entire season of SSOL without the kind of injuries that hampered him throughout this last stretch.
Robert Silverman: One thing I think everyone would conclude from the broom-fest with the hated Celts (I don’t think I’ve ever loathed two teams in the playoffs as much as the upcoming Boston-Miami tilt. Can I root for an airborne, radically contagious, Ebola-like flesh-eating virus to consume them both?) is that the ‘Bockers are more than one player away from contention. There are holes at Center, on the bench, and in the backcourt. If they kick Chauncey to the curb, it leaves about 8 million to spend this off-season, meaning, basically they can fill one of those holes, but not all of them. Considering the free agent PG’s that are out there — Andre Miller, T.J. Ford, etc — re-upping Chauncey’s a no-brainer.
David Crockett: This is one of those situations where the market really does not provide many good options. All things considered, Billups is the best of a set of high risk options. Regardless, New York will need to be in the backup point guard market this summer.
Thomas B.: If we were looking at a much better free agency class, I might lament the loss of cap space, but with this class I’d rather stand pat and explore trading for better players, which might work really well if Kevin Pritchard is calling the shots [Ed. note: Looks like he won't be]. The expiring deals of Billups and Turiaf might be great trade chips depending on the new CBA. I agree with Mike that it is unlikely that Billups will be part of a trade for a disgruntled star, but finding a better point on a one year deal seems just as unlikely to me. Letting Billups walk might have meant signing a point to a longer term deal. I’d rather not add longer contracts this year, that reduce the nearly 21 million set to expire June 30, 2012. While they have not improved at the point, they have not hurt their options for off season trades or free agent offers come July 2012.
John Kenney: The news that the Knicks will not waive Chauncey Billups should not come as a surprise. For the numerous reasons mentioned, including maintaining cap flexibility entering the offseason of 2012 and the lack of other suitable options at PG, keeping Chauncey was in the best interests of the team. What I’m most interested to see is how Chauncey can do in SSOL with a training camp/season to play in it. If he can adapt, Knicks fans will be quite happy they didn’t abandon his 3pt shooting, just so we could set the price that the Grizzlies and the Clippers would pay to Marc Gasol and DeAndre Jordan.
Beyond his work for KnickerBlogger, Jim is a contributor to the New York Times Off the Dribble NBA blog, ESPN.com, and The Classical. He is currently working on a biography of Robert Silverman, titled "Clownin' and Astoundin.'" Follow him on Twitter @JPCavan.