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Tuesday, June 4, 2013
How will Knicks fill void left by Kidd?

By Ian Begley

Knicks GM Glen Grunwald can add one more item to his offseason to-do list: find a replacement for Jason Kidd.

Kidd retired Monday after a 19 years in the NBA. Grunwald is now tasked with finding a player to take his place on the Knicks' roster. And if you think that it will be easy to replace Kidd, you might want to reconsider.

Remember, Kidd brought a wealth of knowledge to the Knicks' locker room. That will will be impossible to replicate. And even though he struggled in the postseason, the 40-year-old still played a major role in New York's blistering start to the 2012-13 season.

So if you were Grunwald, who would you go after to replace Kidd?

Clearly, re-signing Pablo Prigioni is a bigger priority for the Knicks in light of Kidd's retirement. But Grunwald also needs to find a reserve guard to take Kidd's roster spot.

Let's take a look at a few options:

THE DRAFT

The Knicks have the 24th pick in the NBA craft. Most predict that they will go after a guard or big man. Here are two backcourt options who could serve as a replacement for Kidd on the roster:

Shane Larkin: Larkin, a sophomore out of Miami, wowed personnel people with his athleticism at the Chicago combine. He might not be available by the time the Knicks get to pick; many draft experts predict Larkin will go before 24. But if he is there, the Knicks would be adding a quick player with solid shooting range who sees the floor well and has active hands on defense. One weakness? At 6 feet and 171 pounds, Larkin is a bit undersized, which could be an issue at the next level.

Isaiah Canaan
Isaiah Canaan could be on option as the Knicks look to add depth at point guard.
Isaiah Canaan: Like Larkin, Canaan, a senior from Murray State, is a solid shooter. So he could potentially knock down the open looks that Kidd was missing in the playoffs. He also has a good wingspan (6-5) and is a strong, physical player, which should benefit him on defense.

Canaan is widely projected as a late first-round pick and could be available to the Knicks at 24. Canaan's size -- he's 6-0, same as Larkin -- could be an issue at the NBA level.

FREE AGENCY

Barring a trade, the Knicks won't have much to offer free agents. They'll have the mini-mid-level exception (a three-year deal worth approximately $3 million annually) or a minimum contract to sign a free agent.

So they won't be able to lure any upper-tier guards to fill in for Kidd.

Here are a couple options:

Will Bynum: Bynum put up solid numbers for a struggling Pistons team last season (9.8 points per game on 47 percent shooting, 3.6 rebounds per game). He made $3.25 million last year, so he'd be accepting a paycut to sign with the Knicks. Would New York place enough value on Bynum to sign him to a multiyear deal via the mini-mid-level? It's also worth noting that the Knicks might have to split the mini-mid-level exception to re-sign Prigioni and Chris Copeland.

Aaron Brooks: His contract is not guaranteed for next season, so the Rockets might choose to move him or cut him as they continue to free up cap space in their pursuit of Dwight Howard. Brooks averaged 7.1 points on 45 percent shooting and 2.2 assists per game in limited minutes for Sacramento and Houston last season. He has a $2.5 million option, so it is unclear if he would agree to a veteran's minimum contract. And the Knicks are unlikely to eat into their mini-mid-level exception to bring Brooks in.

Nate Robinson is another option, though he comes with baggage from a previous stint with the Knicks and might be out of their price range.

Question: If you were Glen Grunwald, who would you go after to replace Kidd on the Knicks' roster?

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