Knicks May Make Surprise Moves
The New York Knicks may be surprise players in this years free agency and not just because they have trade chips. All season long it was speculated the Knicks would try and do sign-and-trade deals with Nate Robinson and David Lee. That could still happen but its also looking like both players could still be playing at the Garden. The Knicks are also rumored to be in the Jason Kidd sweepstakes and of course looking at the big man Marcin Gortat.
I’m not sure which news today is more surprising. There have been reports that the Knicks and Kidd are scheduled to meet tomorrow. There’s also reports that the Knicks may be willing to offer Lee a six-year contract. So you see both are eye openers and I can’t decide which caught me more off guard.
First waking up this morning I turned on ESPN, the first story I saw was that the Knicks were meeting with Jason Kidd. First words out of my mouth were WTF, so I quickly went online to get details. The NY Post says that the Knicks hope their location is enough to reel in the triple-double machine. Kidd’s kids still live in the New York area and there hope is that he wants to be around them more.
They have to lean on that because all they can offer is the teams mid-level exception. Even with his career winding down its doubtful a player of his talent will sign for just that. Last season he averaged over 9 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists a game so he can still produce at a high level. For a system like Mike D’Antoni’s which rewards all around players, he’d be a perfect fit. The real question would be what happens to Chris Duhon then?
The other surprise came while I was reading about Kidd. The articles said the Donnie Walsh would like to keep Lee, but only at a price that doesn’t mortgage the teams chances for summer 2010. Makes total sense, it’s something I’ve thought for a long time. Lee led the league in double-doubles and is a talent that you can’t let just walk away. BUT at the same time with the upcoming free agent class you have to prioritize.
The same NY Post article indicates that Walsh would be willing to offer around $7 million a year over six seasons. A pretty good deal, especially in this economy but there are plenty of teams who can offer more. Walsh is willing to bet they won’t. “He’ll have to prove it,” Walsh said.
Walsh has that leverage to say that as the Knicks can match any offer Lee receives. That leverage could also lead to Walsh calling up a club and saying I’m keeping him unless you give me so and so’s expiring contract. Win-win scenario for the Knicks, even thou I believe the bigger win would be keeping Lee.
Don’t let the drafting of Jordan Hill and trade for Darko fool you, they’re back-up plans should the Knicks let Lee walk.
In other Knick news, Nate Robinson might be willing to sign his qualifying one year offer. This would be outstanding news for the club. Yes, they drafted Toney Douglas to replace him but who knows if he’ll be able to provide the same output as Nate in just his rookie year.
The Post says there are sources that Nate feels the summer of 2010 would be better for him financially, and he may be willing to wait a year to hit the market. That makes total sense in my opinion. Many teams are tightening up right now with the current economy, and once again because of the next free agent class. There’s going to be so much money available next year that Nate could really score a big payday with another solid season.
I’ll tell you one thing, if the Knicks can sign Kidd, keep Lee and Nate, and add Gortat it could be a special season. The Knicks would have enough talent to be very competitive in the Eastern Conference, probably playoff worthy again. The best part would be they’d make all these moves and still be in a favorable cap situation for 2010.
A playoff berth this year would put Madison Square Garden back on the map as a tough road game. The place would be absolutely electric with the Knicks being competitive again. And even more so when fans consider the future may be a lot brighter then the past decade.