According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the New York Knicks are in pursuit of free agent point guard Beno Udrih, in hopes of signing another veteran to come off the bench. Udrih would be a great addition to the Knicks point guard rotation with his ability to shoot the three, create shots for his teammates, while bringing solid NBA experience to the table on a nightly basis.
The only catch is the Knicks can only sign a free agent to the veteran’s minimum. Udrih would have to be convinced to take a substantial pay cut, after a season where he made a respectable 7.3 million dollars while playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, then eventually finishing the season with the Orlando Magic. With Jameer Nelson constantly hampered with injuries, Udrih did a solid job filling in as the full-time point guard, showing he’s capable of even a larger role when needed.
The simple fact is, Udrih can put up solid offensive numbers. Udrih obviously doesn’t have the respect, championship pedigree, and leadership that’s instilled in Jason Kidd, but he’s going to be much more reliable in offensive productivity. On the other side of the ball, Udrih is a relatively solid defender. Throughout his nine year career, the Yugoslavian has averaged a shade under a steal a game.
During the first 39 games playing for the Bucks during the regular season last year, Udrih posted a 6.7 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game in only 18 minutes, as he was buried behind the explosive backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. After he was traded to the Orlando Magic later in the year, Udrih had the opportunity to showcase his talents more so, posted 10.2 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game in 27 games, while averaging nearly 28 minutes per night. Udrih proved that if a team gives him the opportunity on the court, he will produce at a decent rate. I understand these numbers are not eye opening right off the bat, but it’s vital to understand he’s never been rewarded starter minutes consistently.
For the entire last season, Udrih’s per 48 minute stats can truly show what this point guard is capable of, as he logged in 17.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 10.0 assists per game. If the Knicks can ink a player of his caliber, for a mere 1.2 million dollar veteran salary, fans should value this signing more then the naked eye shows.
As I mentioned earlier, it may take the Knicks some convincing to have the point guard consider the pay cut. Reports indicate the Knicks are also eyeing free agent guards Delonte West and Bobby Brown, so the options remain open. But in the case of Brown, according to Stein, he has agreed to a deal with the Dongguan Leopards in China, but with an out clause that will allow him to sign with any NBA team before August 15, so he’s still in play. Also, Toure’ Murray is now on the roster.
Despite the recent resigning of Kenyon Martin, the Knicks are also continuing to look for a backup center for Tyson Chandler. Like Murray, Jeremy Tyler was extended an invitation for the Knicks training camp, in hopes of finding that big body in order for Chandler to get some help. The Knicks have three roster spots still open, read on Knicks fans!