Tuesday, July 31, 2012
How would you grade Grunwald?
By Ian Begley
There were plenty of question marks surrounding the Knicks heading into the offseason. They didn't have a coach, didn't have a lot of money to spend and had some significant roster issues to address.
The one sure thing, supposedly, was that Jeremy Lin would be back.
We all know how that turned out.
Lin's gone, but GM Glen Grunwald added several major pieces over the summer.
How did he do? Does he deserve an "A" in his second summer as the Knicks' GM? Or something less flattering?
Let's take a quick look at his moves:
BRINGING BACK WOODY: The Knicks brought interim coach Mike Woodson back on a three-year deal. The organization didn't conduct much of a coaching search. The Knicks never reached out to Phil Jackson or formally interviewed any candidates other than Woodson.
THE BIG QUESTION: Was the Knicks' 18-6 record under Woodson in the regular season an anomaly or the norm? Can he guide a team past the second round of the playoffs, something he couldn't accomplish in Atlanta?
SIGNING JAMES WHITE: High-flyer and European standout hopes to make an impact off the bench.
THE BIG QUESTION: Can White do more than just dunk?
RE-SIGNED J.R. SMITH: The Knicks brought Smith back on a cheap two-year deal (player option in the second year). The contract gives New York Smith's early Bird Rights if they choose to re-sign him next season.
THE BIG QUESTION: Can Smith score with enough consistency to be a valuable weapon off the bench? Or does he start in front of Ronnie Brewer?
SIGNING JASON KIDD: The 39-year-old point guard made waves when he chose to sign with New York over Mark Cuban's Mavs. Kidd signed for the tax-payer's exception ($3.09 million over three years) and is expected to back up Raymond Felton. Shortly after his introductory news conference, Kidd was charged with DWI after a one-car accident in the Hamptons.
THE BIG QUESTION: Does Kidd have enough left in the tank to give the Knicks quality minutes behind Felton? Can he still guard anyone? Does he have the gravitas to get Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire on the same page?
BRINGING BACK NOVAK: Grunwald gave Novak a four-year $15 million deal, rewarding him for an unbelievable run last season.
THE BIG QUESTION: Can Novak re-create the magic of last year, when he led the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage? Has he improved his catch-and-shoot game and his ability to get his shot off the dribble?
TRADING FOR CAMBY: Grunwald acquired the veteran big man and former Knick from Houston for Toney Douglas, Josh Harrellson, Jerome Jordan and two future second-round draft picks.
THE BIG QUESTION: Did the Knicks overpay for Camby or will he prove to be a valuable piece off the bench behind Tyson Chandler and Stoudemire?
SIGNING PRIGIONI: The Knicks inked Pablo Prigioni, a 35-year-old veteran of European hoops, to fill in as the third-string point guard.
THE BIG QUESTION: How does Prigioni's pass-first game translate to the NBA? At 35, can he provide quality minutes if called upon?
TRADING FOR FELTON: Grunwald acquired Felton and Kurt Thomas from Portland in a sign-and-trade for Jared Jeffries, Dan Gadzuric, the draft rights to Kostas Papanikolaou and Giorgos Printezis, and a protected future second-round draft pick.
THE BIG QUESTION: Will the Knicks get the Felton they had in 2010-11 (17 ppg, 9 assists) or the overweight Felton who struggled in Portland for much of last season?
LETTING LIN WALK: The Knicks opted not to match the Rockets' three-year, $25 million offer to Lin. They ultimately deemed that Lin wasn't worth the money, particularly $14.8 million in the third season. This wasn't necessarily Grunwald's call though, as owner James Dolan likely made the final decision on Lin. Either way, Linsanity is over in New York.
THE BIG QUESTION: Will it continue in Houston? Can Lin duplicate last season's remarkable run with the Rockets? If he does, and Felton struggles, will the Knicks regret their decision to let Lin go?
BRINGING IN BREWER: Grunwald brought in former Bull Ronnie Brewer Jr. for the veteran's minimum. The 6-6 guard brings a strong defensive presence to New York, particularly on the perimeter.
THE BIG QUESTION: Will Brewer start or do the Knicks give the starting nod to Smith and bring Brewer off the bench?
• • •
Grunwald will likely add one more player before training camp, but in looking at what he's done so far, we give Grunwald a B-minus. Solid moves given the circumstances, but still plenty of question marks heading into the season.
What do you think? What grade would you give Grunwald?