New York Knicks: Glen Grunwald

Grunwald: Knicks are in 'good hands'

August, 17, 2014
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Ex-Knicks GM Glen Grunwald has taken his talents to Canada.

Grunwald, who was fired as Knicks GM less than a week before training camp last season, has accepted a position as Director of Athletics and Recreation at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

“I’ve always had an interest in university athletics and working in administration,” Grunwald said by phone earlier this month. “I’ve always thought this would be a fun and rewarding job to have.”

Grunwald was in the mix for the Memphis Grizzlies opening that eventually went to Ed Stefanski. He said that the search firm looking to fill the McMaster position contacted him to see if he knew of any quality candidates. Naturally, Grunwald nominated himself.

“They have good facilities, they have successful programs ... there’s a lot of good things going on there,” Grunwald said of McMaster, ranked annually as one of Canada’s top universities. “It’s got a really good vibe so hopefully I can enhance and build upon the good work that’s already been done before me.”

Grunwald certainly did that as Knicks GM.

The team he put together won 54 regular season games, a division title and a first-round playoff series in 2013.

Grunwald was surprisingly fired in the offseason by Knicks owner James Dolan. Dolan replaced Grunwald with Steve Mills, who is currently the team’s GM under president Phil Jackson.

“My last year there I was happy about the success that the team had. I wished I would have had the opportunity to continue there, but it didn’t work out and now it’s time for everyone to move on,” Grunwald said. “But it was great working for New York and the Knicks. I owe a lot to [former president and GM] Isiah Thomas for bringing me there and [ex GM] Donnie Walsh for keeping me and then Jim Dolan gave me the opportunity to be the GM for a while so I appreciate all of those guys and their support and I wish them all the best.”

Added Grunwald: “They’re in good hands with Phil Jackson and it will be interesting to see how things develop there. He certainly has a track record of success.”

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Opening Tip: Who to fault for this season?

April, 11, 2014
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Mike Woodson, James Dolan, Carmelo Anthony Getty ImagesThis Knicks season has been absolutely awful -- who's to blame for this season?
With the New York Knicks’ playoff chances fading with just four games remaining, it’s hard not to think about what went wrong and how the 'Bockers got into this position in the first place.

The Knicks started the season with high expectations and now they could be playing out the final four games of their season with no postseason and no picks for this coming draft.

So with that in mind, who do you place the onus on for this disastrous season? Of course, everybody played a part in the Knicks’ failure this season but who do you point the finger at the most? Here are five candidates to choose from:

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James Dolan: The owner truly felt that this roster had what it took to win it all when the season started. He oversaw changes in the offseason that included the acquisition of Andrea Bargnani, demotion of GM Glen Grunwald and hiring of Steve Mills.

The Knicks went in a younger direction after key veterans helped them win 54 games last season. The team’s strong ties to CAA also led to J.R. Smith’s brother, Chris, making the roster at the start of the season. And other offseason additions like Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih ended badly with buyouts.

For better or worse, Dolan opted not to make major changes in-season whether it was not trading for Kyle Lowry or keeping Mike Woodson as coach. Dolan, though, didn't completely stand pat. He deserves credit for chasing and ultimately landing Phil Jackson even if he had to give up a small fortune. The Jackson hiring gives the Knicks what feels like a tidal wave of hope for the future even if it doesn't end with a title.

Mike Woodson: The man who coached the Knicks to 54 wins a season ago won’t be able to win more than 37 games even if he finishes the season 4-0. He has had to deal with a slew of injuries to Tyson Chandler, Smith (who started the season with a five-game suspension), Raymond Felton, Bargnani and Kenyon Martin among others. But he had difficulty getting the Knicks to play consistently, there were defensive breakdowns and confusion on some nights and basketball IQ flops at the end of games against Washington and Milwaukee.

There were also embarrassingly awful losses to the Celtics, Spurs, Kings, Sixers and Lakers just to name a few. The Knicks were more inconsistent than a flip-flopping politician as guys like Chandler, Felton, Smith and Iman Shumpert all played below their 2012-2013 level. But despite all that and Phil’s hiring, Woodson oversaw a late surge in which the Knicks have won 12 of their last 17 games.

Carmelo Anthony: In what could potentially be his last season as a Knick before becoming a free agent, he’s averaging 27.5 points and 8.2 rebounds in a career-high 38.9 minutes a game. Melo authored an all-time Knick performance with 62 points against Charlotte and was often the only reason why to watch the team for much of this dreadful season. Anthony is trying to battle through a shoulder injury in an attempt to get the Knicks in the playoffs.

Anthony knew the team would look to him to lead more this season with Jason Kidd gone and he tried calling team meetings early in the season. But there’s only so much Anthony can do. The All-Star has felt the burden of the Knicks’ struggles this season according to Jackson and all this comes right before he will opt out his contract later this summer.

J.R. Smith: Smith’s 2013-’14 got off to a smashing start with offseason surgery on his left knee shortly after signing a three-year, $18-million contract in July. He then served a five-game suspension for violating the NBA’s anti-drug program to start the season. Woodson has often pointed back toward the suspension as one of the many things that went wrong this season.

Smith, though, has come on as of late and has begun playing like the Sixth Man of the Year from last season. He has buried a total of 41 three-pointers in his last seven games and looks healthy again.

Jason Kidd: How damaging was his departure? Players have talked repeatedly about how much they miss his leadership and basketball IQ on the court and in the locker room. Without Kidd, the Knicks’ point guard play struggled with Felton going through a tough season. And as if it wasn’t bad enough that Kidd retired, he then took his smarts to the rival Nets and led them to a stunning turnaround since Jan. 1 –- all while the Knicks have been struggling.

Up now: Can the decision-making duo of Phil and Mills do special things for the Knicks next season?

The Knicks will need an Atlanta meltdown to make the playoffs.

What's next: Knicks try to keep their slim hopes alive at Toronto at 7 p.m.

Question of the day: Who do you place much of the blame on for the Knicks’ woes this season?
Dolan, JacksonNathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesSteve Mills believes he and Phil Jackson can build the 'Bockers into a winner.
Steve Mills believes that he and Phil Jackson can be a tandem that will “do something special” for the New York Knicks.

In an interview airing Thursday at 7 p.m. on SiriusXM NBA Radio, Mills talked about how he and Jackson can combine their strengths to turn the Knicks around.

“I look at our situation in terms of putting us in a position to win,” Mills said in an interview with Spike Lee. “Obviously he has tremendous, tremendous credibility, he’s won 11 championships, he understands how to build a team. From my standpoint, the relationships I have around the league with players and agents, as we start to think through strategically where we want to go from a free-agent standpoint, we’re going to be able to understand what players are available and want to come and play in New York. There are not going to be surprises.

“We’re going to have the relationships in place with players and agents, and you couple that with Phil’s credibility from a championship standpoint and coaching and what he’s done to build teams, I think together we can do something special.”

Mills admits that the Knicks’ courtship of Jackson did “lead to some problems” initially with head coach Mike Woodson. Mills said he wanted to make it clear to Woodson that he did not have any conversations with Jackson about coaching the Knicks after the first report came out that the two had met.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported that Mills met with Jackson about the possibility of Jackson becoming the team's next coach but that Jackson wasn’t interested in coaching, according to sources. Owner James Dolan said he did initially ask Jackson about the possibility of coaching the Knicks when they first had discussions.

“It was very tight,” Mills said of keeping the talks with Jackson quiet for some time. “It started to lead to some problems because even when it started to leak out that we had been having conversations, I wanted to make it clear to Mike Woodson in terms of our relationship that during this process or any other processes, I never had any conversations with anyone about coaching the Knicks.”

Former Knicks coach Larry Brown blasted the Knicks for how they have treated Woodson with the Jackson hiring in a recent interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio. During that interview, Brown also said Mills “has no clue” about basketball.

"I don't know what he knows about the sport, to be honest with you," said Brown, who worked with Mills during his lone season as Knicks coach. "I was with him. Steve Mills has no clue. They fired [Glen] Grunwald, who was tremendous. They told [Grunwald] they couldn't [sign] any older players. They didn't make any changes as the season went on, and there were some opportunities to do that.”

Dolan hired Mills to replace Grunwald at the start of the season, but his title and role have since changed with Jackson’s arrival.

“Well, obviously it has changed because I gave up the president title and just retained my title as the general manager,” Mills said. “And Phil is coming in and he is going to, you know, ultimately decide what we do from a player standpoint, what we do from a coaching standpoint.

“But when I took this job with the Knicks, I made it clear to Jim I wanted to come back and I wanted to try to help us win. And I looked at the opportunity as I got to know Phil, and we went through a three-month courting process.”

Mills said that during that "courting process" he had multiple meetings over several hours with Jackson to build a rapport at Dolan’s request.

“We had a meeting where I went and met with Phil, and then we had another meeting where Jim and I and Phil got together for five or six hours,” Mills said. “And then we had a weekend where we went away where we could just get to know each other personally. ... It was really important for Jim to feel that Phil and I could work together.”

Trees for Threes: The Knicks and PwC US will plant 1,500 trees and 200 shrubs in Jamaica Bay Park at part of the "Trees for Threes" program. The Knicks made 369 treys through 39 home games this season and PwC tripled that number in trees and shrubs.

Agent on Grunwald demotion: 'Absurd'

September, 27, 2013
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New York -- The New York Knicks' decision to demote general manager Glen Grunwald caught many around the NBA by surprise.

Rick Kaplan, Marcus Camby's agent, was particularly taken aback. He called Knicks owner James Dolan's decision to demote Grunwald "absurd" and "cruel" and referred to the Knicks as a "toxic" atmosphere.

Kaplan described Grunwald as "straightforward, honest and extremely loyal."

Grunwald traded Camby, Kaplan's client, over the summer in a trade that netted the Knicks Andrea Bargnani.

Kaplan said Grunwald "couldn't have handled that tough situation better."

He also disagreed with the way Dolan treated Grunwald, who was reassigned on Thursday and replaced by Steve Mills.

Here's what Kaplan said about the move:

"Glen's firing is absurd and the timing is cruel. Here is a guy that remarkably created a winning atmosphere in one of the most toxic NBA environments today," Kaplan said in an email to ESPNNewYork.com. "He did everything he was asked to do by his owner, and did it with a smile on his face. The only good news is that some lucky team will have Glen fall in its lap and he can finally work for a team that appreciates his enormous talent and class."

Question: What do you think of Dolan's decision to demote Grunwald?

Analysis: What Mills means for the Knicks

September, 26, 2013
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Isiah Thomas and Steve MillsREUTERS/Mike SegarSome see these guys as an unholy trinity. Will they be reunited? Or is two out of three not so bad?
NEW YORK -- The Knicks announced Thursday that former team executive Steve Mills will be back in the fold, replacing GM Glen Grunwald. Here's what the move may mean for the organization going forward:

BIGGER ROLE FOR ALLAN HOUSTON: Houston, the Knicks' assistant general manager, will likely see his profile and responsibilities grow now that Grunwald is out. Mills is a top-notch executive with solid connections around the league, but he is not known as a talent evaluator. It's fair to assume that Houston, a longtime Knicks player with close ties to team owner and MSG chairman James Dolan, will play a bigger role in talent evaluation and personnel decisions. Houston will likely be aided by fellow Knicks veteran personnel men Mark Warkentien and John Gabriel along the way.

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WILL ISIAH THOMAS BE BACK? Probably not in any official capacity. Mills previously worked with the Knicks for 10 years as president of MSG Sports (Dolan oversees MSG as its executive chairman) and hired Thomas to run the Knicks. But Thomas and Mills reportedly had a falling out over how things unfolded during the Anucha Browne Sanders sexual harassment lawsuit. Browne Sanders, the Knicks' former senior vice president of marketing and business operations, successfully sued MSG; a jury in October 2007 ordered the Knicks to pay her $11.6 million after finding she endured crude insults and unwanted advances from then-coach Thomas.

Don't forget, though: Thomas will always have Dolan's ear as an unofficial adviser. Dolan admitted as much when his attempt to hire Thomas fell through in 2010.

WHY NOW? It's certainly strange to shake up the front office with training camp practice set to start Tuesday. One thing is clear: Dolan was not comfortable with Grunwald running the team heading into what could be its next overhaul in 2015. The contracts of Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, Andrea Bargnani and Carmelo Anthony will come off the books going into the 2015-16 season, so the Knicks will have a chance to overhaul the roster in the summer of 2015. The team hopes that Anthony, who can opt out of his contract after this season, can be a part of that overhaul.

Dolan could have been upset over the Nets winning the battle of the headlines this summer from the Knicks. That would be a petty reason to get rid of Grunwald, who did a solid job in the offseason, given the Knicks' cap situation.

There's also a theory among those familiar with the Knicks' politics that Thursday's move paved the way for Houston to take over as president and GM in the future. Elevating Houston to president and GM now would make him culpable for Grunwald losing his title. Grunwald will remain with the Knicks as an adviser.

TROUBLE FOR MIKE WOODSON? The reassignment of Grunwald may mean less job security for the Knicks' head coach. Woodson's contract has a team option for next season. With Grunwald out, there is one less voice in the room to support the coach when the front office and Dolan discuss Woodson's future. Woodson and Grunwald are close. The pair, along with Thomas, played college basketball together at Indiana University.

BRINGS BACK BAD MEMORIES: Mills presided over the Knicks during a troubling period both on the court and in the courthouse. As mentioned, he served as the president of MSG Sports during the Browne Sanders sexual harassment suit. He also ran the team during a period of poor on-court results. After Mills hired Thomas in 2003, New York missed the playoffs in six of the next seven seasons.

QUESTION: What do you make of the Knicks' decision to bring in Mills and demote Grunwald?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Steve Mills rejoins Knicks

September, 26, 2013
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NEW YORK -- The New York Knicks have reshuffled their front office yet again, announcing Thursday that former executive Steve Mills has rejoined the organization as president and general manager, replacing Glen Grunwald.

Grunwald, who served as GM for two seasons, will be reassigned as an advisor, the team announced.

For the full news story, click here.

Grading the Knicks offseason

September, 23, 2013
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The Brooklyn Nets grabbed the headlines this offseason, and deservedly so.

Billy King added Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to an already strong roster, putting the Nets in position to contend with the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

But the Knicks made several significant moves over the summer as well.

Glen Grunwald added scoring big man Andrea Bargnani via a trade, re-signed J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin and Pablo Prigioni and added Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih in free agency.

[+] EnlargeTim Hardaway Jr.
Jeyhoun Allebaugh/NBAE/Getty ImagesThe Knicks took Tim Hardaway Jr. with the 24th overall pick.
Due to salary cap constraints, the Knicks couldn't throw big money at any of this summer's free agents. So Grunwald was a bit handicapped from the start.

With that in mind, how do you think the Knicks' GM did this offseason? Below, we offer our grades. We'd like to know what you think as well.

DRAFTING TIM HARDAWAY JR.

PROS: Hardaway Jr. gives the Knicks a perimeter scorer off the bench to help fill the void left by J.R. Smith, who is rehabbing from offseason knee surgery and will serve a five-game suspension for a violation of the league's anti-drug policy as soon as he's healthy.

CONS: The Knicks needed a backup point guard and a big man heading into the draft and didn't address either of those needs. They selected a two guard, most likely because they knew Smith wouldn't be available for the beginning of the season. Also, according to people who followed him last season, the biggest concerns about Hardaway are his shot selection and consistency.

GLEN'S GRADE: B

[+] EnlargeAndrea Bargnani
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty ImagesFormer No. 1 pick Andrea Bargnani is looking for a fresh start in New York.
TRADED FOR ANDREA BARGNANI

PROS: In trading Marcus Camby and Steve Novak, Grunwald got rid of two players who didn't fit well in Mike Woodson's system and whose contracts extended beyond this season. He acquired a player in Bargnani who, if he returns to form, can boost the Knicks' perimeter scoring.

CONS: One of the lessons learned from the Indiana series is that the Knicks need to bolster their defense against opposing front lines. If history is any indication, Bargnani won't help there. He is a poor defender and rebounder. He's also coming off a season in which he shot 40 percent from the field and suffered an elbow injury. Also, it's hard to figure out why Grunwald included a first-round draft pick (2016) along with two second-rounders in a deal for a player that many felt Toronto was trying to get rid of.

GLEN'S GRADE: C

RE-SIGNING PABLO PRIGIONI

PROS: Bringing back Pablo was a must after Jason Kidd retired. It's hard to understate just how vital Prigioni was to the Knicks late last season. After the Argentine was inserted into the starting lineup in mid March, New York reeled off 13 straight wins. The Prigioni signing allows Mike Woodson to use Raymond Felton and Prigioni together in the back court, if he so chooses.

CONS: The Knicks inked Prigioni to a three-year deal (3rd year is team option, with incentives). The potential problem here is that Prigioni will be 37 in March. He's in fantastic shape, but you have to wonder if he can hold up through the life of this contract. And how will he respond to playing regular minutes this season?

GLEN'S GRADE: A -

[+] EnlargeSmith
AP Photo/Mary AltafferJ.R. Smith was re-signed by the Knicks.
RE-SIGNING J.R. SMITH

PROS: It may be hard to remember at this point, but there was a time when Knicks fans were worried about losing J.R. Smith to free agency. Smith was the Knicks' top free agent target. Eventually, they got their man -- at a discounted rate. For those who say the Knicks should have spent the money they gave J.R. (3 years, $18 million) on another player, it's worth noting that, per the CBA rules, they could not spend that money on anyone else. He may not be an ideal secondary scoring option, but he was the best option for the Knicks, given their salary cap constraints.

CONS: Shortly after signing his three-year contract (player option in the third year), Smith underwent patellar tendon surgery and an arthroscopy for a tear in the lateral meniscus of his left knee. He is expected to be out until mid October, at the earliest. The Knicks maintained that they knew about Smith's injury before they re-signed him so it's fair to question why a team would sign a player knowing that he'd need major knee surgery. Also, Smith was suspended earlier this month for violating the NBA's Anti-Drug program. He will sit out five games as soon as he is deemed healthy enough to play.

GLEN'S GRADE: B

ALLOWED CHRIS COPELAND TO SIGN WITH THE PACERS

PROS: In limited playing time last season, Copeland showed a proclivity to score. But he struggled on defense. Is that something that the 29-year-old could improve upon? Sure. But the Knicks have enough players who leave something to be desired on defense. They probably don't need another one.

CONS: Copeland is a strong perimeter shooter. The Knicks' offense last season relied heavily on the 3-point shot, so losing Copeland hurts in that respect. Also, Copeland's departure is another example of a player on a minimum contract having success in New York and then signing with another team. The Knicks had a chance to develop a young player for the future, but passed on it.

GLEN'S GRADE: B

[+] EnlargeMetta World Peace
Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesHow would you grade the signing of Metta World Peace?
SIGNED METTA WORLD PEACE

PROS: If healthy, World Peace gives the Knicks a versatile defender who can score when called up. He also may lighten the load on defense for Carmelo Anthony. In theory, if Anthony and World Peace share the floor together, World Peace can guard the opponent's top scoring forward, giving Anthony a bit of a break on defense. Also, the Knicks signed World Peace to a cheap contract (two years, $3.1 million).

CONS: World Peace turns 34 in November and is coming off of a knee injury, so there is some concern over how much he has left to give. Also, it's worth wondering how World Peace, a Queensbridge native, handles being home year-round.

GLEN'S GRADE: A -

[+] EnlargeKenyon Martin
Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY SportsKenyon Martin was re-signed in the offseason.
RE-SIGNED KENYON MARTIN

PROS: Martin proved to be a valuable piece for the Knicks late last season. He helped defend the rim in the second unit and filled in for the injured Tyson Chandler late in the regular season as the Knicks reeled off 13 straight wins.

CONS: Similar to Prigioni, you wonder how Martin, 35, will hold up through the life of his contract. He played 30 games (playoffs included) for New York last year. How will the 13-year veteran handle the workload of an 82-game season?

GLEN'S GRADE: B +

SIGNED BENO UDRIH:

PROS: The Knicks found their third point guard when Udrih, a 31-year veteran, agreed to sign for the veteran's minimum in August. Udrih gives Woodson the flexibility to play a two-point guard lineup and gives the Knicks' second-unit a seasoned lead guard.

CONS: Udrih is said to have sub-par athleticism and isn't a very strong defender. Other than that, it's hard to find much wrong with this move on the surface. There weren't many attractive FA's available and the Knicks needed a third point guard.

GLEN'S GRADE: A

SIGNING JEREMY TYLER, C.J. LESLIE, CHRIS SMITH, TOURE' MURRY:

None of these young players are on guaranteed contracts, so the Knicks can cut them after training camp, if they so choose.

Tyler and Leslie have some guaranteed money in their deals, so the Knicks would owe each guy a certain amount if they choose to let them go.

GLEN'S GRADE: INCOMPLETE

OVERALL: The Knicks, as discussed above, were very limited in what they could do this offseason. They didn't have much money to offer free agents and didn't have many tradable assets. That said, it's hard to fathom why Grunwald gave up so much to land Bargnani. Other than that, I think Grunwald did fairly well, given the circumstances.

GLEN'S GRADE FOR THE SUMMER: B

QUESTION: What do you think? How would you grade Knicks GM Glen Grunwald's offseason?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Knicks after Beno Udrih

July, 31, 2013
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A new name has emerged in the Knicks' search for a backup point guard.

New York is trying to convince free agent Beno Udrih to take the veteran's minimum and join the club, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.

Due to salary cap restrictions, the Knicks can only offer the veteran's minimum to free agents.

Udrih would earn approximately $1.2 million, which would be a significant pay cut from the $7.3 minimum he earned last season.

If the Knicks can convince Udrih to take such a pay cut, it would be a big coup for general manager Glen Grunwald.

According to ESPN Insider Bradford Doolittle, Udrih's "shooting and consistent production would play well off the bench for a playoff contender." Doolittle wrote this shortly after the trade deadline last season and not much has changed since for Udrih. He averaged 8.2 points, 4.6 assists and 2.1 rebounds in 22 minutes last season.

Grunwald said recently that the team is open to adding a backup guard and a big man. They have three roster spots available.

In addition to Udrih, the Knicks have shown interest in Delonte West and a few other young guards to fill their void on the bench. New York was impressed by the play of Toure' Murry in the summer league and has extended a training camp invite to the former D-Leaguer. They also have reportedly shown interest in Bobby Brown. But Brown, according to Stein,
has agreed to a deal with the Dongguan Leopards in China. The deal has an out clause that would allow Brown to sign with an NBA team before Aug. 15. If not, he will be playing in China in 2013-14.

New York is also said to be in the market for a backup big man to spell Tyson Chandler. The Knicks were impressed by the play of 6-foot-10 big man Jeremy Tyler during summer league. Tyler told reporters in Las Vegas that the Knicks have extended a training camp offer to him.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Knicks need Hardaway Jr. to boost, not bust

June, 28, 2013
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The Knicks won't have many easy opportunities to upgrade their roster over the next two summers.

But they had one on Thursday night. And they used it to draft Michigan guard Tim Hardaway Jr. 24th overall.

We can spend countless hours debating the merit of that decision. But the bottom line is this: The Knicks desperately need their pick to work out.

Remember, barring a monumental trade, New York won't have an opportunity to upgrade the roster via free agency.

The Knicks have only the mini mid-level exception (worth approximately $3.1 million annually) and minimum contracts to hand out to free agents. And unless they make a significant roster move this summer or next year, the Knicks are likely to find themselves in a similar cap situation next summer, too.

And if you're hoping to improve via the 2014 draft, forget about it. New York sent its 2014 first-round pick to Denver in the Carmelo Anthony trade. The franchise's second-round pick in 2014 belongs to Houston, via the Marcus Camby sign-and-trade. Granted, they will have Oklahoma City's second-round pick next year, courtesy of the Ronnie Brewer deal last February. They can also get Sacramento's second-round pick if it falls between 56-60, via a previous trade. But that's it.

Neither of those picks will bring in one of the game-changing college players who are expected to enter next summer's draft. That's why the Knicks desperately need Hardaway Jr. to make an impact.

"These are the picks that can really make a difference," Glen Grunwald said. "We are hopeful that we made the right pick today, but only time will tell."

So what will the Knicks do next?

June, 28, 2013
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Now that the New York Knicks have added their draft pick, Tim Hardaway Jr., it's on to free agency starting July 1. Here's their order of business:

1. Re-signing J.R. Smith. GM Glen Grunwald made it clear on Thursday the Knicks don't want to let him go. "We're going to do what we can to get J.R. back," he said. However, that won't happen if Smith can't resist a lucrative offer and a chance to start, which he hasn't done for most of his career, including in New York. The Bucks, Pistons and Suns, for example, will likely be gearing up to outbid the Knicks, who can only offer the Sixth Man Award winner $5.58 million with early Bird rights.

2. Re-signing Pablo Prigioni, Chris Copeland and Kenyon Martin. First, regarding Prigioni, he represents a pressing need for the Knicks. "We think we need at least one more point guard," Grunwald said. "We love Pablo and hopefully we'll get him back." Prigioni also wants to return. "I would like to go back to New York," he told ESPNNewYork.com on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Knicks extended their qualifying offer of $988,872 to the Argentine. He could demand more on the open market, but if he doesn't return, it will likely be because he wants to return to Spain, where he lives and has played previously for many years.

As for Copeland: Add the Celtics to the long list of teams that want Copeland, who was extended the same qualifying offer as Prigioni this week. Now that the Celtics have more cap space with trading Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets, they could make a strong push for Copeland. In the Knicks' favor is that he really wants to return. But, like Smith, a high offer with starting potential could be the deal-breaker.

And Martin? He wants to return, but he would likely have to accept the veteran's minimum. While his good friend Jason Kidd is in Brooklyn, now that Garnett is joining the Nets, that could encourage Martin to want to stay in New York for more minutes.

3. Adding another point guard and big man. The Knicks only have a mini mid-level exception of $3.18 million, and if they use that to split up Prigioni and Copeland's salaries, they would only have veteran's minimums to spend to fill up the rest of their roster. As for point guards, Aaron Brooks, A.J. Price, Josh Selby and Sebastian Telfair could be in that lower price range. Top D-Leaguers Tony Taylor and Toure Murry, who will likely be playing for the Knicks' summer league team, will be given hard looks.

If the Knicks have that $3.18 million available, the top two point guard candidates are Will Bynum and Nate Robinson.

As for bigs who can defend, rebound and score inside, the ideal candidates would be J.J. Hickson and Jason Maxiell. Rasheed Wallace told ESPNNewYork.com a few weeks ago that he really likes the Pistons forward's game. But would either take less money?

Most likely, the Knicks will be looking for bigs at the veteran's minimum with names like DeJuan Blair, Elton Brand, Samuel Dalembert, Shavlik Randolph, Anthony Tolliver, Chris Wilcox and Brandan Wright. One interesting candidate is Andray Blatche. While he has said he wants to return to Brooklyn, now that Garnett is in town, perhaps there would be a bigger playing opportunity for him across the river.

Two sleeper picks for the Knicks in the frontcourt are Henry Sims and Jerome Jordan. While Jordan is playing for the Knicks' summer league team, Sims has been invited but hasn't accepted the offer yet.

You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.

GM: Hardaway Jr. 'best player available'

June, 28, 2013
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New York Knicks GM Glen Grunwald thinks Tim Hardaway Jr. can help the Knicks immediately.

"He’s a talented young player that can shoot the ball well, is a good athlete and is a really good worker," Grunwald said.

[+] EnlargeGlen Grunwald
Debby Wong/USA TODAY SportsGlen Grunwald thinks Tim Hardaway Jr. can help the Knicks right away.
The GM also thought Hardaway Jr. was the best player available to the Knicks when they selected at 24. That was his primary motivation for selecting Hardaway Jr. over players such as UNC forward Reggie Bullock, Murray State guard Isiah Canaan and San Diego State's Jamal Franklin.

Grunwald did not downplay the idea that Hardaway Jr. was selected as insurance in case sixth man J.R. Smith leaves in free agency.

"It’s true we only have two players under contract at the guard position. [Help at guard] is definitely a need, but I think the primary reason we drafted him is we felt he’s the best player available," Grunwald said.

According to scouting reports, Hardaway Jr. is adept at getting his shot off the dribble and getting to the rim.

He also can be a good defender when he is engaged. The biggest concerns about the former Michigan standout are his shot selection and consistency. He also needs to improve his dribble, according to several scouting reports.

Hardaway Jr. impressed the Knicks at his workout in early June.

"We were impressed with his interview. We were impressed with his shooting, his athleticism and his overall demeanor," Grunwald said. "He’s a really good worker and that’s going to be important for a young player to improve over the course of his career."

SECOND FIDDLE: Grunwald also said the Knicks tried to trade into the second round to add another player but hinted that no teams were interested.

"We had a lot of good ideas we thought today, but no one seemed to agree with them, whatever," he said.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Grunwald: No major changes this summer

May, 21, 2013
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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Memo to Knicks fans daydreaming about Chris Paul playing in an orange and blue uniform next season: general manager Glen Grunwald doesn't expect to make any major changes to the roster this summer.

"In general, it's best to maintain continuity, familiarity," Grunwald said Tuesday on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Stephen A. Smith & Ryan Ruocco Show." "I don't foresee substantial changes to our roster."

The Knicks don't have much roster flexibility this summer.

With $77.6 million in committed salary, they will have only the mini mid-level exception ($3 million per year) and veteran's minimum contracts to offer free agents.

There is a possibility the team could trade players to get under the salary cap, but Grunwald dismissed that on Tuesday. The Knicks can also execute a sign-and-trade to acquire a free agent, though it would be tricky to accomplish that due to CBA restrictions.

A sign-and-trade is one way that the Knicks would be able to obtain Paul, who is a free agent this summer. But it is an extremely remote possibility.

"You can trade players, but I don’t think that’s our focus," Grunwald said Tuesday when asked about the possibility of a sign-and-trade. "Our focus is to continue to build this core team. Some continuity, some familiarization, further growth as individuals and as a team, I think that’s what we have to do."

Grunwald said the Knicks' front office will take a "creative" approach to the offseason.

They have a first-round pick (24th) in the June draft but have no second-round picks. They will have decisions to make on several players expected to test free agency, including J.R. Smith, Chris Copeland, Pablo Prigioni and Kenyon Martin.

Grunwald declined to comment on Smith or other potential free agents. The Knicks will be able to offer Smith a contract starting at around $5 million. Other teams under the salary cap may be able to offer a richer contract.

With Prigioni and Copeland, the Knicks will likely be able to use part of their mini mid-level exception to match offers from other teams, if the players receive such offers.

Grunwald said again and again on Tuesday that he'd like to maintain "continuity" and keep the roster largely intact.

"In general, it’s best to maintain the continuity if you think [the team can] get better. I think we can get better. I think we can play better than we did at the end of the season," Grunwald said. "But that’s not to say we won’t explore all alternatives."

Other highlights from Grunwald:

CHANDLER GAVE 100 PERCENT: Grunwald said Tyson Chandler lost 12 pounds shortly before the playoffs due to illness and, as a result, he wasn't 100 percent healthy in the postseason.

"He wasn't 100 percent, he gave 100 percent of what he had," Grunwald said.

Chandler was badly outplayed by Indiana's Roy Hibbert in the Knicks' playoff loss to the Pacers.

"I know he's disappointed in the team's performance and what he gave in the playoffs," Grunwald said.

The GM added that the Knicks may look into using Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire in the post more frequently next season. Chandler served primarily as the screener on pick-and-rolls this season.

AMAR'E SUCCEEDED OFF BENCH: Neither Grunwald nor Mike Woodson would say whether Stoudemire would start or come off the bench next season. But Grunwald did say that Stoudemire "grew into" his role off the bench with the Knicks this season.

"We're hopeful he'll be able to contribute next year in whatever role Woody decides," Grunwald said.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Knicks expect Kidd to return

May, 21, 2013
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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Bad news for any Knicks fans hoping Jason Kidd would retire: both GM Glen Grunwald and coach Mike Woodson said they expect Kidd to return next season.

"We had a great meeting with Jason yesterday. We hope he's going to be back and from his comments to us we expect him to be back next year and he'll be a big contributor to the team like he was this year," Grunwald said on ESPN New York 98.7 FM on Tuesday after meeting with Kidd.

Kidd played an important role in helping the Knicks win 54 games in the regular season but struggled mightily in the playoffs.

The 40-year-old was scoreless in his last ten games. The Knicks were essentially playing four on five on offense when Kidd was on the floor. He missed his final 18 shots of the season.

Grunwald on Monday defended Kidd's play in the postseason.

"It wasn’t his role to score," the GM said. "He contributed in so many different ways that it’s hard to list, on and off the court. So I don’t think that was a big factor in our struggles in the Indiana series. Obviously he would have liked to make a few of those shots, but he didn’t. So that wasn’t the reason we lost."

Kidd is under contract for two more seasons but said during the year that he was unsure about playing in 2013-14.

Kidd indicated to the organization that he will be back next year but, as Woodson noted, "that can change. You never know."

Kidd's uncertain status leaves the Knicks with a murky situation at point guard. Raymond Felton is coming back, but it is unclear who will play behind Felton.

Pablo Prigioni is a free agent and is reportedly considering a return to Europe. The Knicks had success with Prigioni and Felton in the back court in a small ball lineup.

If Woodson chooses to go that route again, the Knicks would need someone to share the floor with Felton, assuming Prigioni does not return. Also, given the age of both Prigioni and Kidd, the Knicks may look to upgrade at point guard via the draft or free agency.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Woodson to meet with Grunwald on roster

March, 20, 2013
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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The Knicks could establish an infirmary at this point for all their injured big men. Amar'e Stoudemire (right knee debridement), Tyson Chandler (neck strain), Rasheed Wallace (fractured left foot) and Kurt Thomas (right foot stress reaction) are all currently out.

With that being said, Mike Woodson plans to meet with GM Glen Grunwald soon to see if adding a big makes sense. Of course, the Knicks would have to cut a player first to maintain a 15-man roster.

Grunwald
Grunwald
"I haven't talked to him," the coach said after Wednesday morning's shootaround. "I'll sit down with Glen to just kind of see where we are. He'll give me some kind of leeway on where we are right now."

But Woodson said that he had no further information on potential personnel moves.

"No, not at all," he said. "Our team is set right now."

A source close to the Knicks said that Grunwald "needs to make that call ASAP," referring to releasing a player to sign someone else. However, the big man field is small, which includes Hilton Armstrong, Tony Battie, Josh Boone, Brian Cook, Dan Gadzuric, Troy Murphy, Josh Powell, Samardo Samuels, Henry Sims, Ben Wallace, Hakim Warrick, Hassan Whiteside and Sean Williams.

The source said that the Knicks should target the 6-9, 240-pound Powell, who's currently playing for Greek powerhouse, Olympiacos, because the 30-year-old is "still young and strong, and a solid rebounder." While Sims and Samuels have been blowing up in the D-League this season, they're both younger and Woodson prefers veterans. That's why Kenyon Martin was brought in, and he's added a big boost defensively.

The other issue is that the Knicks have had offensive issues lately, stemming from their inconsistencies attacking the lane and getting to the foul line. While they've been missing Carmelo Anthony, Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni are limited facilitating off the bench, and Iman Shumpert is still working his way back from an ACL repair.

That's why they've been monitoring Delonte West in the D-League. The point guard would also improve the Knicks' perimeter defense with his toughness, which is needed against the backcourt-oriented Heat and the top teams out west.

"They need quick and speedy to score more in transition and get into the paint to make plays," the source said.

Overall, the Knicks have two areas of concern. While their frontcourt is banged up -- not to mention, Marcus Camby's minutes will be limited looking ahead -- they're also hurting for offense, which Woodson is more concerned about.

"Defensively, we haven't been bad," he said. "For the most part, our defense has kind of held us in games. We just haven't been able to sustain it because of our offense struggling."

Do you think the Knicks should add a big man or a point guard? Leave us your comments below.

You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.

Opening Tip: Are the Knicks too old?

March, 20, 2013
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Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.

Today's Burning Question: Did the Knicks make a mistake in filling their roster out with older players?

Back in October, someone asked Knicks GM Glen Grunwald about the risk in signing five players age 35 and older to fill out the Knicks’ roster.

"We don't think we got older," Grunwald said. "We feel we got more experienced and better."

It was hard to argue that point during the Knicks’ 18-5 start. But now, with a large portion of the Knicks’ elder statesman on the disabled list or battling nagging injuries, it’s fair to question Grunwald’s strategy.

The Knicks are 21-21 since that hot start and have been besieged by injuries as they enter the home stretch of their schedule.

In addition to Thomas and Wallace out, Tyson Chandler is sidelined with a neck injury, Amar’e Stoudemire is out following right knee surgery and Carmelo Anthony is questionable due to a right knee injury.

Now, injuries are a part of sports and there’s no way to say with any certainty that the Knicks would've been healthier had they signed younger players.

But one leading orthopedic surgeon isn’t exactly surprised by the injuries to the Knicks’ older players.

"The issue with any type of impact activity ... is just the continued presentation of stress (on the body) day after day," says Neil Roth, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital specializing in sports medicine and knee and shoulder surgeries. "You need time to recover from all this and I think that, as the players age, the ability to recover as quickly as they used to, 10 years ago, when they were in their 20s, has an impact on them and you start to break down."

That’s what’s happened with the older Knicks, says Roth, who previously worked as an assistant team physician with the Lakers.

The veteran Knicks' wear and tear injuries are signs of overuse for a player who can't handle the workload in his advanced age.

The bones, joints, muscles and ligaments of older players do not respond as well to the nightly pounding the body takes during an NBA season.

So older players can suffer a systemic breakdown because muscles aren’t able to recover as quickly and joints and ligaments can’t handle the subsequent stress placed on the body, Roth says.

Hence, the stress reaction/stress fractures that Thomas and Wallace are suffering through and the nagging foot injuries that Camby’s dealt with.

Of course, it’s worth pointing out that none of the older players the Knicks signed were being counted on to play big minutes. But with the current health of Mike Woodson’s club, it’s natural to wonder if they’d have been better off signing younger bodies.

Question: What do you think?Did the Knicks make a mistake in filling their roster with older players?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsC. Anthony 8.1
AssistsP. Prigioni 3.5
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2