Knicks: 5 best free agent signings since 2000

JR Smith, New York Knicks (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
JR Smith, New York Knicks (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NY – MAY 06: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks to pass in the first half against Jared Jeffries #9 of the New York Knicks in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 6, 2012 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) /

4. Knicks best free agent signings since 2000: Jared Jeffries

It’s a little bit hard to fathom looking back on it, but Jared Jeffries donned the orange and blue for parts of six seasons. While he was never going to be the dynamic difference-making lottery pick the Washington Wizards made him in the 2002 NBA Draft, Jeffries brought a level of versatility and length that has actually become desired, and even required, in the modern version of the NBA we know and love today.

Jeffries was signed by New York in the summer of 2006 to a 5-year, $30 million contract. While his two most singular moments with New York might be the haymaker he received from then Denver Nugget Carmelo Anthony, or the massive blunder he had against the Boston Celtics in the playoffs, Jeffries really was viewed as a valuable member of the roster, especially when he returned to the team in the 2010-2011 campaign.

There was perhaps no one who had Jeffries’ back more than head coach Mike D’Antoni, who went to bat for his Swiss army knife defender when Knicks faithful started to give him a hard time.

"“Indulge me for a second, anybody who boos Jared Jeffries has got to reexamine their life a little bit,” D’Antoni said following the Knicks’ 99-88 win over the Jazz at the Garden. “I love our fans and I like Madison Square Garden, the arena, but here’s a guy who came back to us, minimum contract. He could’ve gone to a lot of other teams. He plays as hard as anybody could possibly ever play, with injuries, everything you ask him. He takes every charge, every dirty play, every rebound. He works every second.” Via NY Post."

While his first contract with the team set unrealistic expectations for the type of statistical production Jeffries could provide, his second stint with the team put him in a better position to succeed, which was enough to give him a spot on this list.