Sunday, July 15, 2012
What's next for the Knicks?
By Jared Zwerling
At the end of the season and on Thursday in Las Vegas, Mike Woodson said Jeremy Lin will "absolutely" be the starting point guard next season.
As for matching the Houston Rockets' three-year, roughly $25 million offer sheet, Woodson said the Knicks would "absolutely" (once again) do so. In fact, he said he didn't even blink once when the high offer was made.
Woodson has declined comment on other free agents this offseason before they signed with the Knicks, but he's not only been up front about Lin, but basically guaranteeing that he'll be back.
Now, Raymond Felton is in the picture. The 2010-11 Knick who mastered the pick-and-roll with Amare Stoudemire was acquired, along with another former Knick, Kurt Thomas, in a sign-and-trade deal for Jared Jeffries and Dan Gadzuric.
But don't get so caught up in defined positions. If Lin returns, he could still be the starting point guard.
Even though the Knicks now have three point guards, Felton, Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni, ask agents and scouts around the league and they see Woodson as a coach who likes to mix up lineups and sometimes use two point guards in the backcourt.
The benefit of now having Felton and Kidd is they both can knock down the 3, which the Knicks struggled to do last season outside of Steve Novak. Felton shot 45.9 percent from downtown with the Nuggets in the second half of the 2010-11 season and Kidd is third all-time in 3-pointers made (1,874). Lin can also nail the long ball, as he shot a respectable 32.4 percent in his first-time starter role last season.
In addition, Felton also helps fill the defensive void on the perimeter from Iman Shumpert's absence. In his seven NBA seasons, he has never averaged less than 1.2 steals per game.
Given the NBA is now a booming point guard's league, it can never hurt to have too much depth at that position. And you better believe that's what the Knicks are thinking. They didn't have a lot of floor-general consistency last season. In addition, Lin, Felton and Kidd can all play some 2-guard.
The Knicks have until Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. ET to make a decision on Lin, and there is still a feeling that the team will match, for no other reason than Lin is a talent. He's not just a business commodity.
In fact, a source very close to Lin believes the Knicks will match because "he's legit and they make too much money off him that $25 million is a discount -- even if they will be $30 million over the salary cap."