LAS VEGAS -- Who would've thought players in their late 30s would highlight the 2012 free-agency period? So far, Steve Nash (38), Ray Allen (36), Jason Kidd (39) and Marcus Camby (38) have made headlines.
But Mike Woodson said such veteran experience is crucial for championship contention. He pointed to the Heat signing Allen and Rashard Lewis (a bit younger at 32), and the Knicks' acquisitions of Kidd and Camby.
"Everybody's trying to jockey and get better as a ball club, and we definitely have to do the same thing," Woodson said on Thursday. "I mean, last year was a taste of good basketball again in New York and we don't want to leave that behind us. We want to build on that and I think the only way to do it is add quality pieces that can complete the puzzle to help you win at a high level."'
Woodson shot down any criticism of the Knicks being too old. He said the Knicks are now in the same competitive ballpark as the Heat and Celtics. While the Heat made their moves, the Celtics made their biggest move by re-signing Kevin Garnett to try and build another championship run.
"I haven't seen a young team win an NBA title in the last 10, 15 years," Woodson said. "If you can tell me one, then so be it, but I haven't seen one. That's why Boston did what they did when they made their run and tried to hold the Big Three together. It's veteran guys that are winning NBA titles."
On Wednesday, the Knicks finalized a one-year contract with Argentinian point guard Pablo Prigioni, the fourth player 30 years or older to sign with the team this offseason. In addition to Kidd and Camby, the Knicks also have James White (30) on their roster.
The Knicks are clearly in win-now mode, acquiring players with experience under their belt.
"Ownership has always looked at it in that light, in terms of wanting to win," Woodson said. "Mr. [James] Dolan is a guy that wants to win in the worst way, and I think he's tried to put pieces in place and he's supported Glen [Grunwald] and myself in terms of the free agents that we've fielded so far on this team. And he wants to win, and I want to win."
"It's only fitting that we win for our fans in New York and the city of New York, Manhattan area and all the surrounding boroughs that support our team. This is what it's all about, man. It's not about hoping to win, hoping to get in the playoffs. You've got to put pieces in place, and it's going to be my job to push guys to play at a high level to try to win at a high level."
The Knicks may not be done yet in the golden oldie department. They could re-sign Jared Jeffries and/or pick up a veteran shooting guard to fill the void of Iman Shumpert's absence, likely until January.
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