Now that Rasheed Wallace is in the house, continuing the Knicks' trend of adding players over 30, it only begs the question: Are they still looking to increase their average age?
According to a source close to free agent Josh Howard, the Knicks are still interested in the 32-year-old swingman and have had recent conversations with his representatives.
The Knicks first inquired about Howard last month, but if they're serious about adding him now, they'll have to cut one of their players with a non-guaranteed contract, which applies to training camp only. Currently, the Knicks have 20 training camp invites (including Wallace), which is the maximum amount allowed per team.
Howard spent the offseason continuing his recovery from left knee surgery he had in March, and the source said "he's now feeling very good and ready to go." After training at P3's Santa Barbara facility, which specializes in unique science-based programs to optimize performance and limit injury risk, he played pickup games at his alma mater, Wake Forest. These days, he's been in Dallas working out at Southern Methodist University with Erick Land, the same personal trainer for the Nets' Deron Williams.
The source said the Knicks are in "wait-and-see mode" before bringing on anyone else. They first want to evaluate their talent pool to see if a player like Howard would make sense -- and perhaps if they really want to get older.
The Knicks have two guaranteed roster holes to fill, so if they want to stay in-house, Wallace would obviously be the likeliest choice to make the team (and he'd earn $1.7 million). While Chris Smith may have the edge for the second spot, don't count out John Shurna. He's been earning rave reviews and being compared to Steve Novak, and the Knicks could benefit from having another 3-point shooter around, especially one who's a stretch four. Smith and Novak are really the team's only consistent long-range marksmen.
"John's in there every day competing and trying to make an impression and prove to the Knicks that he can really help them now and for years to come," Shurna's agent, Mark Bartelstein, told ESPNNewYork.com.
As for Howard, he could seamlessly fit in as Carmelo Anthony's backup at small forward because of his versatile inside-outside game and defensive skills. In 10 NBA seasons, he's averaged 14.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game. But the source said the Knicks could eventually play Ronnie Brewer behind Melo, and rotate between J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert (when healthy) at shooting guard.
Another possible candidate at the three is Maurice Evans, who played for the Hawks under Mike Woodson. Evans was being looked at by the Knicks last year.
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