Friday, December 16, 2011
Opening Tip: Mo Evans, Mo Defense
By Jared Zwerling
Every weekday morning throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.
Today's Burning Question: Would Maurice Evans be a nice fit for the Knicks?
And then there was one. Now that Jamal Crawford, Shawne Williams and Reggie Williams have signed with other teams, the Knicks are zeroing in on their fourth and final prime free-agent target, 6-5 swingman Maurice Evans.
Evans' agent, Roger Montgomery, confirmed with ESPNNewYork.com late Thursday night that his client is very interested in New York and Washington. Evans is also weighing a few other options and may not make a decision on Friday, even though it's one day before the preseason starts. As Montgomery put it, "I can't say, man, because this market is so crazy. It can go fast, it can go slow. It's a unique market, I'll put it that way."
The Knicks are in need of an immediate scorer, shooter and defender off the bench. Evans, who averaged 9.7 points per game and shot 34.6 percent from downtown last season with the Wizards, would help fill those holes for the team. Montgomery agreed.
"I think that he would be a good fit. I have talked to the Knicks," he said. "Nothing has been solidified yet and we haven't made a commitment to anybody at this point. You look at what Mo can bring to that club with his defense, the fact that he can score, the fact that he's a veteran, he's been in the playoffs. Except for last year, he's been in the playoffs every year in his career. He's always been able to contribute."
Turns out, he's already contributed in New York. During the lockout, Evans, alongside NBPA executive director Billy Hunter, present Derek Fisher and vice president and former Knick Roger Mason Jr., fought for the players' best interests during the labor talks in the city. Montgomery said Evans became tight with Hunter, and enjoyed his overall time in New York, which has added to his client's overall attraction to the Big Apple.
"That's a place he spent a lot of time in. He got kind of comfortable with it," he said. "Then, of course, Billy Hunter, is there. They're really good friends, so that would be interesting for the circumstances. But I think that when you look at the Knicks, who wouldn't want to play with a team like that in the Garden? You look at those things and you say, 'Wow, that's pretty cool.'"
Montgomery knows the cool factor is even higher in New York with Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and now Tyson Chandler rounding out arguably the NBA's best frontcourt. Not only that, several years ago Montgomery placed a call to Phoenix because Evans was intrigued with Mike D'Antoni's fast-paced system.
Still, though, Evans is equally interested in playing with Wizards point guard and future All-Star John Wall and rejoining a group of guys he's familiar with. Montgomery said it's one thing to play with a potential Eastern Conference finalist, which he thinks would be great for Evans, but it's another thing to help a team make it to the playoffs.
"We recognize that we can't put ourselves in our situation where we put our eggs in one basket. We have to look at the total picture," he said. "Mo also is looking at Washington. He's put in a lot of time in Washington and they're building something special there with a young team. As we get down to the wire, we're looking at a few other options as well. We just want what we think is the best situation for Mo and we're trying to figure out what that is."
Do you think Evans would a nice fit for the Knicks? Leave your comments below.