Thursday, July 5, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Jason Kidd to the Knicks
By Jared Zwerling
WHAT IT MEANS: An agent I spoke with today said that the Knicks were looking to sign a seasoned point guard to not only mentor Jeremy Lin, but also contribute right away off the bench. While they missed out in the sweepstakes for Steve Nash, who would've likely been the starter in New York, the Knicks landed arguably the second-best veteran point guard in free agency, Jason Kidd -- and now the Knicks can focus on re-signing Lin, the likely starter. Even Kidd said in an appearance on ESPN New York radio recently that he wouldn't mind helping develop Lin as the Knicks' main floor general.
While Kidd turned 39 this year, he still has a couple of solid years left -- and that's why the Knicks agreed to give him $9 million until 2015. (It’s not yet known if it’ll be an outright signing or a sign-and-trade, so the Knicks could still have their midlevel exception of $3.09 million.) Eventually with Lin and Kidd, the Knicks will be able to replicate a consistent one-two young-to-veteran punch at the point guard position like they had with Lin and Baron Davis. As witnessed in the playoffs, that combination with Russell Westbrook and Derek Fisher helped the Thunder reach the NBA Finals.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks should secure a third-string point guard. Mike Bibby? Mike James? John Lucas III? Keyon Dooling? After that, the Knicks need to figure out their shooting guard situation. Even if the Knicks match Landry Fields' $20 million offer sheet with the Raptors, J.R. Smith is still a free agent and Iman Shumpert is out until likely January. Two of the most popular players still available -- whom the Knicks have expressed interest in -- are O.J. Mayo and Randy Foye, but they will be expensive. A sign-and-trade may be necessary. Two lesser-known names are Courtney Lee and Sonny Weems.
The Knicks need a proven big man off the bench because Jerome Jordan and Josh Harrellson still have room for development -- and New York is trying to compete for a championship next season. Two names that have circulated are Marcus Camby and Kenyon Martin. Martin is a more feasible option because of his lower value. Also, Camby is looking for a starting position. The Knicks do have Jared Jeffries right in front of them, and it's likely he'll re-sign for the veteran's minimum of $1.4 million because he really wants to be back in New York. In addition, the Knicks have a big frontcourt with Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, so Mike Woodson can use them at different times to make sure the interior is strong.