UNDER CONTRACT: F Amar’e Stoudemire, F Carmelo Anthony, C Tyson Chandler, G Jason Kidd, F Steve Novak, C Marcus Camby, G Iman Shumpert, G Raymond Felton, F Kurt Thomas, G J.R. Smith, G Pablo Prigioni, F Chris Copeland, F James White, G-F Ronnie Brewer, F-C Rasheed Wallace
DRAFT PICKS: None of consequence
FREE AGENTS: G Mike Bibby, G Baron Davis
MOVES: For the Knicks, the early offseason was more about who got away than whom they landed. They seemed to have the inside track to signing Steve Nash until geography allowed the Lakers to swoop in and snare the All-Star guard. Undaunted, New York remained focused on aging, savvy point guards by prying Jason Kidd away from Dallas with a three-year, $9 million deal, using the mini-mid-level exception. The plan was to have Kidd serve as a mentor to Jeremy Lin. The Knicks swore they would match any offer Lin received as a restricted free agent. But while waiting for Houston to deliver a backloaded three-year, $25 million offer sheet, GM Glen Grunwald made a pair of head-scratching deals in which he mortgaged a good portion of the farm. First, he sent Toney Douglas, Josh Harrellson, Jerome Jordan, 2014 and 2015 second-round picks and $2 million to Houston for 38-year-old Marcus Camby in a sign-and-trade, giving the center $13.2 million over three years ($10 million guaranteed). Then Grunwald packaged Jared Jeffries, Dan Gadzuric, draft rights to two Greek players, a 2016 second-round pick and $1 million to Portland for a signed-and-traded Raymond Felton – coming off a terrible season – and Kurt Thomas, who turns 40 in October. Felton was given $10.5 million for three years, and his addition led to New York not matching Houston’s offer to Lin, allowing a good, young, highly marketable player to get away and turning point guard from an exclamation point into a question mark. New York’s other moves were pretty sound. It re-signed J.R. Smith to a two-year, $5.6 million deal and Steve Novak to a four-year, $15.8 million package. They also made a number of roster-filling signings, inking defensive-minded Ronnie Brewer, athletic journeyman James White, 35-year-old Argentine point guard Pablo Prigioni and Chris Copeland, who has been playing in Europe. However, at least one of those players will not make the roster following the signing of Rasheed Wallace just before the start of training camp. Wallace is coming out of retirement after two dormant years; at 38, he is just the fourth-oldest player on the roster. Yes, Wallace can be volatile, but he and coach Mike Woodson were together on Detroit’s 2004 chanpionship team.
TO-DO LIST: Part of the reason why the Knicks didn’t get Nash was because Toronto signed RFA Landry Fields to a three-year, $19 million offer sheet that prevented New York from including Fields in a sign-and-trade for Nash. The Knicks got even by not matching on Fields, leaving the Raptors to overpay him. Brewer was signed to help fill in at shooting guard until Iman Shumpert recovers from his torn ACL but will miss training camp and preseason due to a torn meniscus. That may force Kidd to play some shooting guard early in the season, which he had done in Dallas in recent years.
PROJECTION: After a decade of incompetence, the Knicks were coming off two straight playoff appearances while becoming more of a defensive team with the additions of Tyson Chandler and Shumpert. They had the benefit of a somewhat stable coaching situation as they entered a full training camp. And then they spent the offseason reverting to their impatient, overspending ways, looking for the quick fix to end the 40-year championship drought. In doing so, they became one of the oldest teams in the NBA and didn’t resolve their biggest problem – finding a point guard whose skilled direction will prevent the offense from always winding up in Carmelo Anthony’s demanding hands. The Knicks believe they have a championship contender. They are certainly a playoff team, but time will tell whether they are experienced or just old. In the meantime, New York will be leveraged against the supertax for the foreseeable future and is down a ton of draft picks over the next four years. It seems like a familiar formula, and not one that has worked.
(RELATED: What grade did the Knicks get?)
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