The Turn On The Knicks 12 Pack is back to give a preliminary overview of the New York Knicks off-season. Make sure to give our writers a follow on Twitter – Joe Caporoso, Chris Celletti, Kevin Smith, Chris DiGioia, Tim Murray and Matt Fritz. If you are interested in joining the staff, send an email over to JoeC@TurnOnTheKnicks.com – Enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend!
1. An important thing to remember when discussing JR Smith and the Knicks – Because of how the salary cap is structured, the Knicks can’t let him walk and then use that money on another comparable player. It is basically pay JR (on a contract that is reasonable for his regular season performance) or let 18 points per game walk away. So yeah…JR is coming back.
2. One in-house way to make sure JR is not carrying such a burden every night as the team’s “number two” guy is the continued development of Iman Shumpert. The Knicks need him to round out his mid-range game, improve his ball-handling and become a 13-16 point per night guy. At the rate he is progressing, Shumpert will be the team’s 2nd best overall player next year and when the playoffs roll around, he can be Carmelo Anthony’s primary sidekick, not JR Smith.
3. Chris Paul? Talk about wedding toasts all you want. It ain’t happening. Moke Hamilton breaks it down pretty clearly here. It is hard to see ANYBODY having any kind of interest in taking on Amare Stoudemire’s contract, which is something the Knicks would need to take on Paul’s salary.
4. As for Amare, what can you even expect at this point? The best case scenario is that he can stay healthy, further develop some kind of post game and become a reliable bench scorer who gives you 15-20 minutes per night. If he can do that, the Knicks depth and rotation will be that much stronger.
5. Reportedly, Pablo Prigoni does want to stay in the NBA for another season. Hopefully, the Knicks will find a way to bring both him and Chris Copeland back, along with give them extended roles next season. Unfortunately, paying for both will cut into their “mini mid-level” exception, further limiting their options in free agency.
6. Jared Zwerling over at ESPN mentioned a few reasonable names for the Knicks to target to help their frontcourt rotation, including Dante Cunningham, JJ Hickson and Jason Maxiell.
7. I wouldn’t bank on either Jason Kidd or Marcus Camby retiring. Even if they did, the cap help from that type of decision would be minimal at best. It is hard to think that Camby couldn’t help in some role off the bench with limited minutes, but Mike Woodson was never able to get comfortable with him.
8. Shane Larkin has been a popular name linked to the Knicks with the 24th pick and would provide some needed juice to the backcourt. Yet, as the Draft gets closer, I think Larkin’s stock will rise enough to the point that he will be taken in the top 20.
9. Considering Carmelo Anthony finished the year with a torn labrum and Tyson Chandler clearly wasn’t healthy the final month or so of the season. Another hope for the Knicks improvement next year comes from both being healthy but more importantly staying healthy for the most important time of the year.
10. Mike Woodson isn’t going anywhere before the end of next year. He needs to show more consistency with his rotations, play Copeland and Prigioni more if they come back and fully embrace the small-ball lineup.
11. Steve Novak will likely get floated in a few trade proposals and might be able to bring a player back who can contribute in the rotation. It is hard to see Novak having much of a role here if Copeland is brought back.
12. Quentin Richardson, James White and Earl Barron probably won’t be back…not that you were too worried about them.