While the Knicks made their first big move in free agency this summer by acquiring Jason Kidd, they are likely far from finished. The details of the Kidd acquisition are still unclear, however. Marc Berman reported that the Knicks are trying to hammer out a sign-and-trade with the Dallas Mavericks, so that the Knicks can retain their mini-MLE of approximately $3 million.
The sign-and-trade – which would likely involve a combination Dan Gadzuric, and perhaps Josh Harrellson, Jerome Jordan, or Toney Douglas – would be huge for the Knicks. Not only would it not cost them much in terms of valuable, pivotal players, but the ability to keep the mini-MLE would be a huge advantage in trying to attract another free agent. But who?
It’s been said the Knicks will undoubtedly match the Houston Rockets’ offer to Jeremy Lin, and they plan to re-sign Steve Novak and J.R. Smith (though it’s been quiet on those fronts), but there are several positional holes left on the roster.
On one hand, if the sign-and-trade for Kidd goes through, the Knicks may be bare upfront. Harrellson and Jordan are supposed to be on the Knicks’ Summer League roster, and could play minutes off the bench if they appear ready. However, without them, the Knicks’ really would only have Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire as rotation bigs. Jared Jeffries could be re-signed (and has expressed interest), but there hasn’t been any evidence that the Knicks are working towards that.
Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports claims the Knicks and Miami Heat are currently front-runners to land Marcus Camby. The Heat could offer Camby a role as starting center, but they currently have their eyes mainly set on Ray Allen. While Camby wouldn’t start for the Knicks, he and Tyson Chandler would tighten the Knicks’ center rotation and form a formidable defensive duo that would keep the Knicks from falling into any defensive lapses while one of them sits.
Shooting guard is also a weakness of the Knicks’. Iman Shumpert would surely be the starting two-guard, but may not return until December or January while he recovers from a torn ACL. As mentioned, J.R. Smith is still a free agent. Landry Fields is likely Toronto-bound, and while the Knicks recently acquired James White, a wing player from the Euroleague, they may look for a guard in free agency who’s more ready to contribute.
The Knicks have been linked to Randy Foye as a possible addition. Foye can play both guard positions, and would be a good fit next to either Lin or Kidd, off the bench or starting. For his career Foye boasts a career average of 36% from beyond the arc, and the Knicks are well aware of his scoring prowess after he knocked down four three-pointers en route to a 28-point performance when the Los Angeles Clippers visited MSG in April. Likewise, though Foye has never averaged over three assists per game in a season, he’s capable of running an offense when thrust into the position. In the 2010-11 season, he averaged four assists per game as the Clippers’ starting point guard, and his per-36 numbers for his career all hover around five assists per game.
However, this is all assuming the Knicks keep their mini-MLE by trading for Kidd. If they are forced to sign him, the Knicks could try a similar sign-and-trade for Camby with Houston (a team looking to cut costs) or the Clippers for Foye. If they look to add pieces through the veteran’s minimum, perhaps former-Knick Ronny Turiaf could be an option upfront. A number of cheap options could be had at the shooting guard position.
The details of Jason Kidd’s deal and Ray Allen’s decision will both be pivotal factors in the Knicks’ free agency crusade.