It’s been a pretty busy couple days in Knicks Nation. And Glen Grunwald has been making some very solid moves that have continued to add to his GM resume.
The beginning of the first week of free agency was quiet for the Knicks, but then the first domino dropped.
No I’m not talking about Jeremy Lin, everybody knows that Dolan and Grunwald will match his contract offer no matter what. Especially considering that the Knicks have Lin’s early Bird’s rights and his contract wouldn’t affect the amount of cap space available.
The other day, Jason Kidd agreed to sign with New York and backup to Jeremy Lin. He will be a great mentor to the young gun and teach Lin how to be a better all around ball player and fix all of the little problems that Lin was dealing with last year, like turnovers and defense. Aside from leadership and mentoring abilities, Jason Kidd can still be a 3-point threat and can contribute 15-20 solid minutes a night. The only snag with the Jason Kidd deal is figuring out HOW he will become a Knick. After the Marcus Camby deal that went down tonight, it is looking like Kidd will sign the Knicks mini- Mid Level Exception that pays a salary of around $3 million in the first year.
The second move of free agency was getting sharpshooter Steve Novak to agree to a deal with the team. Grunwald signed Novak to a 4 year $15 Million deal earlier today. While Novak has been known as a 3-point threat only, I have been reading he is working every day at Marquette University at moving with the ball so he isn’t so stagnant. That on top of his very good free throw percentage and average defense makes me think that this is a good deal for Novak and the Knicks. Another contract to compare it to is Jason Kapono. He was strictly a 3-point threat and he got 4 years and $24 million. My opinion, Novak is better than Kapono. Kapono never shot 50% from the 3-pt line.
In the final move of the day Grunwald solidified the frontcourt and got Tyson Chandler a very good backup in Marcus Camby. Camby was looking at other teams for different amounts of money and a starting role. But in the end, he chose to come back to New York and the front office got the Sign and Trade deal done. The Knicks traded away the non-guarenteed contracts of Jerome Jordan and Josh Harrelson, the 2014 and 2016 2nd round draft picks and the contract of Toney Douglas. Side note: The Knicks agreed to send $2 million over to Houston to pay for TD’s contract.
In return they got a great defender and rebounder in Marcus Camby that can give Tyson a breather when needed. The numbers on Camby’s new deal is 3 years and $13.5 million. The third year is not fully guaranteed.
About that Camby deal: I personally grew up watching Marcus tear it up and defend the paint in Madison Square and am happy he is coming back to seemingly finish his career out. The thing is, I believe the Knicks gave up a bit too much. I didn’t think adding both picks were necessary.
Something that struck me was that maybe, just maybe the Knicks were helping Houston try and get Dwight Howard along with helping themselves. Hear me out here. With adding those picks, it made Houston want to deal with NY and prevented Camby from heading to the Heat, also in the hunt. With the picks that were sent over, Houston can flip them and include them in their offer to Orlando to land Dwight Howard. Not only is the package of players Orlando can get is better, Houston can offer more picks now and they can take back Hedu Turkoglu’s ugly contract.
JR Smith: Last year was very Love/Hate with JR Smith, He would light it up one game and just go ice cold in the next. But that comes with the territory. JR Smith is electric off the bench and can create for himself and other players on the court, namely Novak. But love him or hate him, the Knicks need to re-sign him and it is looking like it will happen by Wednesday. The Knicks can only offer him a raise to $2.8 million over the course of 2 years ($1.4 Million per year) , but after that, the Knicks will obtain his bird rights and sign him to a longer deal. Smith knows that and loves New York enough that he will stick around.
**IAN BEGLEY OF ESPN NEW YORK HAS JUST REPORTED**:
@IanBegley: J.R. Smith has re-signed with the #Knicks, league sources tell ESPNNewYork. Smith’s deal is for 2 years, $2.8 mil w/player option for 2nd yr
Good. I am very happy with this move. Great work today Grunwald.
Having said all that, now we have to look at what the Knicks still need to fill out their roster.
Shooting Guard: With Shump out until late December at the earliest, a starting SG is a position of need. JR is much better coming off the bench in a reserve role, so best case scenario would be to keep him there. There are three players that stick out to me in the starting SG category. Courtney Lee, Randy Foye and OJ Mayo. Each of these three players can contribute and help this team while they wait for Shump to get back. Then transition to a bench role once he does. I would be happy with any of those three, but I would have to put Foye at 1st priority because of his catch and shoot ability. The only thing is, the Kidd deal has to be completed so Grunwald can know what kind of money he has to work with. He still doesn’t know if he will be able to complete a Sign and trade or use the MLE. If he can complete a Sign and Trade, then he can offer any of these three the Mini-MLE, which would probably be accepted. If not, Glen would have to look to the “bargain bin” to find a player for the Vet Min and get creative.
Backup PF: Jared Jeffries is pretty much a lock to resign with a veteran’s minimum contract of about $1.4 million
Players to look out for:
Pablo Prigioni, PG, Argentina- The 35 year old impressed the Knicks medical staff saying he is in phenomenal shape. He has posted very good numbers in international and club play. Could be a good look for a veteran’s minimum contract and snag some minutes when Jason Kidd becomes tired.
Shawne “Extra E” Williams, PF, UFA- After reaching an agreement with Portland, he is now an unrestricted free agent. He is a good on ball defender and a good 3-pt shooter. Another steal on a Vet Min contract.