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Where do the New York Knicks most need to make a roster addition and who can they realistically target?
Joe Caporoso - I find it difficult and generally unreasonable to attach any big names to the Knicks for next season – Chris Paul, David West, Brandon Jennings…those type of guys aren’t happening unless something very bizarre occurs. The Knicks need to replicate what they did the last two years and find contributors on the cheap and seemingly out of nowhere. By the end of the playoffs, Iman Shumpert, Chris Copeland and Pablo Prigioni were the 2nd-4th most effective players in the rotation. Shumpert was the 17th pick two years ago, Copeland and Prigioni were pulled out of nowhere last off-season. The Knicks need to find an immediate contributor with the 24th overall pick, maybe a combo guard who can provide some needed depth and versatility. This team needs to embrace their small-ball identity and find pieces who can fill in around the perimeter, while also adding another big body to the rotation. It is easier said than done.
Depending on how creative they can get financially and what happens with JR Smith, a few names worth pondering – Will Bynum, Gerald Henderson, Matt Barnes, Kyle Korver, James Jones, Dorell Wright, DeJaun Blair, Louis Amundson, Ryan Hollins, Timofey Mozgov (!). We’ll see. Good luck Glen Grunwald!
Chris Celletti - The Knicks don’t have much flexibility going forward, and unless crazy, unforeseen things happen, they aren’t going to be able to add a major contributor through a trade or free agency. Side note: If the Glen Grunwald Era has proved anything to us, it’s that they can unearth some pretty solid rotation players out of nowhere (Chris Copeland, Pablo Prigioni), and in even some cases, international superstars (Jeremy Lin). However, the 2013 Draft is a momentous occasion because the Knicks have a first round pick, and they actually get to use it. Rare times. It’s really hard to put a lot of pressure on a team for needing to make a right pick at 24 overall, but given the Knicks’ cap situation, it’s pretty important that they find someone who can be a rotation player, and soon.
The common narrative so far is that this upcoming draft is that it’s a weak one, but I don’t know how anyone honestly knows that for sure until a few years down the road. And often times when a draft doesn’t seem top heavy, that means that there is a lot of even, spread out talent throughout the entire thing, meaning some guys will slip through the cracks and end up being taken in the latter part of the first round or even the second. The Knicks need some help on the glass, or depending if Pablo Prigioni returns, will need a backup point guard. Miami’s Shane Larkin could be a possibility to fill the latter need, while Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng or Kansas’ Jeff Withey are guys to keep an eye on that could help the Knicks’ interior. However, the Knicks’ roster is very specialist-heavy; I think they should target the best two-way player available, regardless of position.
Matt Fritz - In my mind, there is no question that the Knicks biggest need, aside from getting younger, is getting a polished big man who has the ability to score with his back to the basket. We all know Tyson Chandler is not that guy. Defensively, you already know what you will get with Chandler, but offensively, there are times where you won’t get much from him at all. Even in his best year, Chandler averaged 10 points, along with 9 rebounds. The Knicks need to find a guy who can be more of a threat offensively in the post. A guy I would love to see the Knicks pursue would be David West of the Pacers, somebody Knicks fans are all too familiar with. Will they have enough cash to bring in a guy with his caliber in? I don’t know if that is plausible, but it would without a doubt be worth a shot. Either way the Knicks need to find a guy who can be a legitimate threat to score in the post, whether that be through free agency, a trade, or in the upcoming NBA draft.
Kevin Smith - If you take a look at this year’s free agents, there are plenty of scorers and floor-spreaders to be had. Getting an extra shooter or two shouldn’t be an issue, but this team is dying for some depth on the interior. Kenyon Martin was a pleasant surprise but who knows if he’ll be back in New York next season and his durability certainly can’t be relied upon. In a perfect world, the Knicks would come up with enough cash to sign David West, defining addition by subtraction. A rugged player like Sam Dalembert, Ronny Turiaf, or Robin Lopez would be much more feasible and could probably be had on the cheap. I’m not saying that any of them are going to set the world on fire, but the Knicks planned for guys like Marcus Camby, Rasheed Wallace, and Kurt Thomas to get the starters some rest and they played a combined 1:06 in the playoffs.
Chris DiGioia - Did New York Knicks fans ever believe Tyson Chandler would be under fire after his recent playoff performance? Not me. In fact, he seemed the safest. After being the Defensive Player of the Year two seasons ago, and 1st-team All-Defensive honors this year, the thought of Roy Hibbert eating him up inside didn’t seem to be on top of the list of Knicks problems. Well, it was, and it was arguably the most prominent reason for the Knicks second round demise. With Chandler due to make nearly 14 million dollars next season, and JR Smith becoming a free agent, the Knicks have some decisions to make.
Do not get me wrong it is hard to argue for signing JR Smith to a 4-5 million dollar per year deal. I love what he brought to the table all season, but lets face it, 6th Man of the Year seems to be his ceiling, and his recent playoff collapse after the Jason Terry elbow has proved it. Basically, something needs to be done about one of the two players, because we all know there is not going to be a single team looking to pick up Amare Stoudemire’s 20 million dollar a year contract.
I have always been a huge advocate of Chandler’s game, and I’ve even caught myself calling him a top three center in the NBA, but after his bulging disc late in the regular season, he has not been the same. However, between Smith and Chandler, I’m looking to keep the big. Carmelo must have a definitive number two scoring option in order to take some much-needed pressure off of him. Who can the Knicks make a run for?
As we all know, Chris Paul opted out of his contract last season making him a free agent, and although the Los Angeles Clippers have been a regular season juggernaut, their playoff track record doesn’t quite match that. Remember the story about Paul making a wedding toast regarding making their own big three of himself, Carmelo, and Stoudemire? Well, that’s still very possible. Can you imagine a Knicks backcourt with Paul instead of Smith? We can always dream.
Tim Murray - The Knicks two biggest holes heading into next season will be another consistent scorer to take some offensive pressure off Carmelo Anthony and a big man with a more developed offensive game than Tyson Chandler. As we saw this season, J.R. Smith’s scoring efforts are too streaky to be counted on and the Knicks big men were limited in their offensive output and health. A player I would love to see the Knicks make a play for is Brandon Jennings. He is relatively inexpensive, has stated he will test free agency after losing in the playoffs and it has stung ever since the Knicks passed on him in the draft. In regards to the big men issue, I would like to see the Knicks pursue David West. He has a more polished offensive game than the other Knicks centers and Melo and him could play off each other down low.