<
>

Opening Tip: Who do you cut?

10/21/2013

The New York Knicks have less than a week to set their regular season roster.

So it's time to take a serious look at the training camp invites.

The Knicks have 12 players signed to guaranteed contracts. Two players are on partially guaranteed contracts (C.J. Leslie, Jeremy Tyler).

So the Knicks could keep as many as three of their training camp invitees.

They need to set their roster by Oct. 28 at 5 p.m. So it's time to ask the question: who would you keep? Who would you cut?

Below, we take a look at the candidates:

IKE DIOGU: Diogu has been active on offense, averaging 13.6 points over the last three preseason games. He's also grabbed 23 rebounds in that span. Mike Woodson has said that the Knicks will keep at least one of the three big men they invited to camp. Right now, it looks like Diogu is in the lead.

TOURE' MURRY: Murry's also come on strong over the last three games, averaging 14 points in that span. He's also handed out two assists and grabbed nearly four rebounds a night in his last three games. Murry is stuck in a bit of a logjam because the Knicks have a glut of point guards and shooting guards. But the 23-year-old could be a young piece that the Knicks can develop. That's something that Knicks owner James Dolan has placed a premium on, according to several league sources.

JOSH POWELL: In limited minutes, Powell has been active on defense -- something Woodson appreciates. He had six rebounds in the Knicks' double-overtime loss to Toronto. He totaled six blocks in the Knicks' first four games.

With the health of Amar'e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin in question, Knicks' brass may choose to keep two training camp big men. If they choose to do so, Powell could get strong consideration.

COLE ALDRICH: It's not a good sign that Aldrich did not see the floor in the Knicks' loss to Toronto on Monday. The 7-footer also played just four minutes last Thursday in Baltimore. Aldrich was an early favorite in camp, but, based on the minutes he's played of late, it seems like he may have fallen out of favor with the coaching staff.

CHRIS SMITH: Smith, the younger brother of J.R. Smith, has played sparingly in the preseason. Woodson referred to the former Louisville guard as a young player "trying to find his way" last week. But he also said that Smith has "competed" and mentioned that he would be one of the players the Knicks would make a decision on next Monday.

C.J. LESLIE: The Knicks owe Leslie $200,000 in guaranteed money, so that may factor in in their decision to keep him or cut him. But the former North Carolina State standout has been underwhelming in the preseason. Woodson mentioned that the game may be too fast for Leslie at this point in his career. He may be better suited for the D-League at this juncture.

JEREMY TYLER: Tyler impressed the Knicks in the summer league but he hasn't been able to get on the floor in the preseason. He broke a bone in his foot before training camp and is expected to miss the entire preseason. New York has guaranteed Tyler $100,000, so that may factor in their decision to keep or cut him. Another factor to consider: Tyler, 22, could fit the mandate from upper management stating that the team should have younger players at the end of the roster.

CHRIS DOUGLAS-ROBERTS: Douglas-Roberts, a former Nets draft pick, has played sparingly in camp. He had five points in 12 minutes against Toronto on Monday. He also played 12 minutes in the Knicks' third preseason game but he did not see the floor in the other three preseason games. It seems like he's facing long odds to make the team.

UP NOW: The Knicks lost a few big men from last year's roster. Do they have enough to battle on the boards with the big teams in the Eastern Conference?

Woodson had high praise for Metta World Peace, who hit four of five from beyond the arc on Monday.

Raymond Felton (hamstring), Pablo Prigioni (illness) and Iman Shumpert (elbow) sat out of Monday's game. Andrea Bargnani played, but did not shoot well from the perimeter.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks will practice in Toronto on Tuesday. J.R. Smith and Amar'e Stoudemire could scrimmage for the first time this season in this practice.

QUESTION: Which players would you keep? Which would you cut?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.