Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Agent: Barnes & NYK were in serious talks
By Jared Zwerling
During the offseason, unrestricted free agent Matt Barnes was seriously being considered by the Knicks, according to the small forward's agent, Aaron Goodwin.
But Goodwin told ESPNNewYork.com on Wednesday that it didn't pan out, likely because Mike Woodson was not interested.
"Matt had a high interest in the Knicks, and Glen (Grunwald) and I spoke several times," Goodwin said. "We agreed that it was a position that was needed for the Knicks, especially defensively to advance. But in the end, I don't think the coach was truly on board."
If Woodson did, in fact, influence Grunwald's decision, it comes at a bit of a surprise because Barnes is considered a versatile perimeter defender, which is what the Knicks were looking for with Iman Shumpert out until possibly December. In addition, the 6-7, 225-pound Barnes can shoot the three decently (33.3 percent last season), as well as score inside and rebound.
But after Woodson's input, the ultimate deciding factors could have been Barnes' health -- he's coming off two injury-riddled seasons -- and his arrest in July based on an outstanding traffic warrant and allegedly threatening a cop. It's one of several incidents to his name in his career.
It wasn't clear exactly when Barnes was a prime target, but the Knicks ended up signing Ronnie Brewer to be their defensive wing filler.
According to a source familiar with the Knicks' free-agency situation, the team is searching for a big man to be their 15th guy. There's an argument to be made that adding a 3-point shooter is more important. Really only Novak and Smith excel consistently in that area, and that's why some fans are excited about the prospects of training camp invite John Shurna, who shot 44 percent from downtown and averaged 20 points per game last season at Northwestern.
Put it this way: The Heat, Celtics, Spurs and Thunder, who all made it to the conference finals last season, were in the upper echelon in 3-point percentage during the regular season. And the Knicks? 21st. To make matters worse, Novak was completely neutralized by the Heat in the first round of the playoffs. While Kidd, Felton and Anthony can all knock down the long ball, another consistent gunner could help put pressure on the defense when it matters most.
So who will be the mystery guest? Let's hear your take. Would you sign a big or a long-range marksman? Leave us your comments below.