This morning the New York Knicks made their final roster cuts. We now know who will be on the 15 man roster on opening night this Wednesday.
Here is what the roster will look like:
Metta World Peace
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Among the cuts were:
Chris Douglas Roberts
The most surprising of the cuts was Jeremy Tyler. The 6-foot-10 Tyler missed all of the preseason recovering from a toe injury. Coach Mike Woodson liked Tyler’s play in the NBA Summer League. In recent days Woodson indicated that the Knicks might keep Tyler and develop him. Obviously they decided to go in another direction. Tyler’s contract guarantees him $100,000 from the Knicks.
Cole Aldrich, Ike Diogu, and Josh Powell came into training camp competing for a backup spot. Aldrich won. Diogu had the best preseason of the three. What it came down to was size. Diogu (6-foot-8) and Powell (6-foot-9) were undersized. The Knicks needed someone to backup Tyson Chandler at the center position. Although Mike Woodson questioned Aldrich’s physicality early in the preseason, at 6-foot-11 Aldrich provides the size the Knicks needed.
C.J. Leslie showed promise in the Summer League after going undrafted. Consequently, the NC State small forward earned a training camp invite. Leslie was not able to have the same success in the preseason. The coaching staff said that Leslie was not ready for the speed of the game in the NBA. His partially guaranteed contract means that the Knicks still owe him $200,000.
The Knicks had 12 players under fully guaranteed contracts going into training camp. Toure Murry, Chris Smith, and Cole Aldrich won the last three spots. Murry’s defensive play, and aggressiveness on offense won him a spot. Aldrich won a spot because of his size. Chris Smith may have gotten a spot partially because he is J.R. Smith’s brother.
Smith played 20 minutes the entire preseason, scoring 3 points on 1 for 7 shooting. On Wednesday, in response to a question of whether being J.R.’s brother had anything to do with Chris Smith possibly making the Knicks roster, Mike Woodson said “Although J.R.’s the guy that’s played for me and been very productive for us, I have a great deal of respect for that family… That’s his brother, and I respect that. So we’ve got to make some decisions. What those decisions will be, I don’t know.” Perhaps Woodson did know, which would explain Smith’s lack of playing time. In addition to the comments a group of Knicks, including the Smiths and Woodson, are represented by the Creative Artists Agency(CAA). One has to wonder if the affiliation led to the Knicks deciding to keep Smith. Carmelo Anthony is also represented by CAA. The decision could have been made as an attempt to appease the agency as Anthony heads to free agency this summer. Unlike C.J. Leslie’s and Jeremy Tyler’s contracts, Smith’s contract was not partially guaranteed. However, assuming the Knicks don’t waive him before the opener next Wednesday, Smith’s deal will become fully guaranteed.
There is not a clear role for Smith in the rotation, but Toure Murry could find a spot in the regular rotation. In deciding to keep Murry, the Knicks theoretically have four point guards. However, Murry can play both guard spots because he is 6-foot-5. If Murry can learn how to run the team or be effective alongside one of the Knicks other three point guards, he could get consistent minutes. Murry’s perimeter defense is his strongest asset. The other three point guards — Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni, and Beno Udrih — are not strong on ball defenders.
The Knicks’ final 15 man roster will be in action tonight for their lone home preseason game against the Charlotte Bobcats. It is also their first game in the newly-renovated Madison Square Garden. J.R. Smith is expected to play for the first time this preseason. Mike Woodson is hopeful that Kenyon Martin and A’mare Stoudemire, who have not played due to nagging injuries, can also play for the first time tonight.