Linkin' Center: Could Mike Miller Become A Knick?, Amare Stoudemire Leaving Suns, & Draft News

Apr. 13, 2010 - New York, United States - NEW YORK (USA), 12/4/2010.- New York Knicks

Out of these two guys, is it possible that Mike Miller's the one more likely to be in a Knicks uniform next season? (source: Yardbarker.com)

Mike Miller, the Washington Wizard’s sharp-shooter, is one of the lesser known free agents this summer, but it’s players like him who could help round out the Knicks.  Argus Leader reports:

As an unrestricted free agent, Miller can sign with a team that gives him what he wants – and what he wants is to stop losing.

“I’m looking for a winner,” confirms the 6-foot-8 swingman, who averaged 10.9 points and 6.2 rebounds in 54 games last season. “The last couple of years have taken a toll on me, as far as not being in the playoffs and not playing this time of year. So I’m looking to change that. This time, if it doesn’t work out, there’s no one to blame but myself.”

You might be thinking, um, but the Knicks weren’t exactly winners this last year.  However, if we can sign some of the big free agents…

Miller is content to sit back and see what happens with the reigning MVP – as well as Wade and Bosh – before plotting his own path.

“That’s when everything will start,” says Miller. “LeBron and those guys will start making their decisions, and that will open the floodgates for some of the second-tier guys.”

Miller knows James well from his stint with Team USA qualifying for the 2008 Olympics, and they have talked informally about LeBron’s plans.

So does he want to go where James goes?

“I’d love to,” says Miller. “I’ve talked to him a couple times about that, but there are a lot of other guys who would like to do that, too. We’ll just see how it goes.”

It’s that last sentence quote which I find interesting.  Look, we don’t necessarily need (or have a place for) another sweet-shooting small forward since we’ve got Danilo Gallinari, aka Big Italy.  However, it’s good to hear that there are a bunch of guys who are interested in following LeBron wherever he goes.  One of the main knocks against New York, and rightly so, is that there ain’t much of a roster for him to join.  The thing is that after he commits, other players will jump on the bandwagon and fill out the spaces.

Solid role players are always intrigued about joining top teams.  Last year Orlando picked up Jason Williams and Matt Barnes.  Cleveland snagged Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon and Leon Powe.  Boston welcomed Marquis Daniels, Rasheed Wallace and then mid-season, Michael Finley.  The Lakers got some dude named Ron Artest.  Versus the Knicks had to pick up whatever desperate souls they could find lost on the streets, like Jonathan Bender and Earl Barron.  Barron may’ve ended up being a nice find, but there was no line of teams waiting to pick him up.  Versus almost all those guys listed above probably would’ve been welcomed with open arms to almost any team, particularly considering the low salaries they took.

Well, except for Artest.  And he turned out to be the most valuable signing of the bunch.

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Recently I wrote that Steve Kerr’s departure from Phoenix was a good indication that A’m’a’r’e Stoudemire could be leaving too.  Yahoo reports that this indeed does seem to be the case:

Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver and coach Alvin Gentry are planning to meet with Amar’e Stoudemire next week and offer him a contract extension, but a source called it “pretty bleak” that the Suns will be able to convince the All-Star forward to agree to a deal.

The Suns are expected to visit Stoudemire in Chicago at his summer basketball camp, if not wait for him to return to his home in Phoenix, Yahoo! Sports has learned. After rejecting what’s expected to be another counteroffer below the maximum, Stoudemire will opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent July 1.

The key bit above is “another counteroffer below the maximum.”  Stat has said he’ll stay if he’s offered the max, but it seems like Sarver won’t do it.  Sadly for Phoenix fans, teams like New York, New Jersey and Miami will offer him that kind of money, all but assuring his departure.  Of course since the Suns can offer a longer contract with bigger raises, perhaps he’d take slightly less than the max as long as he’d still make at least as much as he’d get from another team’s max offer?  But that’s just pure speculation on my part.  He could also be offended by the Suns trying to pay him the least amount that they can get away with.

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Above I mentioned Jonathan Bender whose time with New York this past season could be ranked somewhere between an outright disappointment and pathetically awful.  Word from Nola.com is that he’s gearing up to return for another season.

Bender wants to play more than one season. So he’s bringing in the cavalry to help him stay in the league.

Bender [...] is using his good friend and fitness expert Mackie Shilstone to help him get into shape to continue playing at his sport’s highest level.

Ugh, here’s hoping that Knicks’ President Donnie Walsh isn’t foolish enough to give Bender another chance.  For those who don’t know, Walsh drafted Bender in Indiana, has always salivated over Bender’s potential, and was the one who brought him to the Knicks when Bender decided to un-retire.  Yes, he’s still only 29, but c’mon.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.  Fool me three times, call me Isiah Thomas.

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Lastly, with the draft just two days away, the NY Daily News has this bit of “insider” info:

The Knicks are looking to trade into the first round of Thursday’s draft to select one of three players, including Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez, a team official told the Daily News late Monday.

The club is debating between Vasquez, Iowa State power forward Craig Backins and New Mexico small forward Darington Hobson. Brackins had a strong workout with the Knicks, who see him as a legitimate 3-point threat.

As with all their stuff, take it with a grain of salt.  Heck, as unpleasant as it sounds, I’d take it with a whole dollop of salt.

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Tags: 2010 NBA Draft Amare Stoudemire Donnie Walsh Jonathan Bender LeBron James Mike Miller Phoenix Suns Washington Wizards

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