Having missed the playoffs three straight years, new Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek has much to address this off-season. In a quick interview with the New York Knicks YouTube page, he revealed that his primary concern is adding capable shooters around frontcourt stars Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis.
Our starting backcourt shot a respectable percentage from three this season (Afflalo 38%, Calderon 41%), but the big problem was neither could consistently get their own shot and put the ball on the floor (Afflalo’s brief flashes of competency aside).
Sounds like Hornacek is like us in hoping Phil can put together a free agency miracle.
Backup foward/center Jeremy Tyler will sit out the next 8-10 weeks after undergoing stress fracture surgery on his right foot, the Knicks announced yesterday.
The 6’10, 22-year-old Tyler was signed to a two-year deal last month after a strong showing in the team’s summer league, averaging 12.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
The latest Tyler is expected to return is late November.
Let’s get all the long-term injuries out of the way now, because I don’t want to be hearing stories like this all season long like last year. On the surface, this looks bad to see another guy hurting, especially with what happened with JR Smith’s injury.
This makes it all the more important that we try to get a decent big (for the little money left, if possible), for our last roster spot. I doubt the Knicks panic and cut Tyler, so we can expect him back just in time to make sure too much wear and tear doesn’t fall on Amar’e and Tyson.
The Knicks have been a roll this week and sewed up one of their last remaining depth roles in signing 9-year point guard Beno Udrih to a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal.
The Knicks have been vigorously pursuing Udrih for the past few weeks. According to undisclosed sources close to Udrih, his main reason for joining the Knicks was a chance to play for a contender.
Udrih averaged 8.2 points and 4.6 assists last season for the Bucks and Magic. Over the last 27 games of the year, Udrih increased his numbers to 10 points per game and six assists while shooting 40% from the field and 39% from three-point range.
This is a very good pickup, especially at the veteran’s minimum. When Felton went down on Christmas Day last year, the Knicks backcourt suffered greatly with the increased burden on the old legs of Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni. Udrih not only works the pick n’ roll well, but he has a solid mid-range jumper which will be essential in keeping the floor spaced.
The other point guard option was Bobby Brown, who from what I’ve seen is an aggressive point guard with a scorer’s mentality. I wouldn’t have been mad at picking him up, but Udrih’s NBA experience was likely the deciding the factor in NY choosing him.
Considering the limitations we had on the financial end, we’ve made some excellent moves this summer in improving nearly every position.
With Carmelo Anthony potentially hitting the free agent market before the 2014-2015 season, everything the Knicks star says about the team will be dissected. In many cases, the dissection will be result in over-analysis, as evidenced by Melo’s recent statement over the weekend at his Queens youth camp that his window for a title is “closing.”
Below is the quote in its entirety courtesy of the New York Post.
My window is closing. I’m trying to bring a championship to New York ASAP.
He clarified that he was not speaking about his specific time with the Knicks, and addressed that he’s not considered the possibility of leaving.
As far as ruling anything out, I haven’t thought about anything beyond today. My mind is not thinking about next offseason right now. I’m trying to do what I do this offseason, get right, work out, train and prepare myself for this season. When that time comes, I’ll deal with that. It’s not something I’m thinking about right now.
New York is the greatest city to play in the world.
I think I’m in better shape than at the Olympics. I’ve been doing what I’m supposed to be doing. At this point, I feel I’m in that [Team] USA shape right now.
If this conversation had been held in private, I believe Anthony would have further clarified that the window for this team with himself, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler as the focal points is closing. This team is in the last year of a “win-now” 3-year title plan and it’s clear that while the Knicks have definitely improved over the previous 10 years of ineptitude, the organization is still well short of being a title contender. That won’t change until Amar’e’s big contract comes off the books and the team has the ability to sign a legit second option for Melo. The current team was a gamble with Stat’s injury history and unfortunately it didn’t pay off. Nonetheless, unless the team completely crashes and burns this season, it’s difficult to imagine Melo walking away from a team that’s given him the keys to the city and made it clear he’ll have a huge say in determining the new big signings in 2015.
This off-season saw some hopeful additions with Metta World Peace and Andrea Bargnani, and resigning key contributors from last season in JR Smith and Kenyon Martin. Not to mention there’s still a few rosters spots left to strengthen our point guard and center/forward positions. Rest easy, Knicks fans — I think Melo will be with us well past next year.
Chris Copeland is gone from the New York Knicks after signing a 2 year, $6 million-guaranteed offer sheet with the rival Indiana Pacers.
The Knicks allowed Copeland to test the free agent market by not offering a contract and focusing on other players such as JR Smith, who was recently signed for 4 years. After using part of their mid-level exception to sign veteran guard Pablo Prigioni for 2 years, the Knicks only had an estimated 1.8 million left and won’t be able to match the Pacers’ offer.
Immediately following the Knicks’ playoff exit to the Pacers, Copeland had expressed a strong desire to remain a Knick. His agent John Spencer says the decision was tough and Copeland remains very grateful for the chance the Knicks took on him.
“Chris is grateful to the Knicks for giving him his first opportunity to play in the NBA,” Spencer said. “Also, the Knicks veterans showed him how to be a pro. They taught him to always be prepared. So it was hard for him to leave. But at the end of the day, the opportunity to play for a championship-caliber team was important for him, and he looks forward to working with another world-class organization.
Copeland averaged 8 points last season for the Knicks and provided a sorely needed offensive spark late in the Pacers series.
I’m usually happy to see former Knicks get well-deserved paydays and wish them well. But as a Knick fans that goes back to our huge 90s rivalries, did it have to be Indiana, Cope? Sheesh. It still irks me that Coach Woodson waited until we were in a 3-1 hole to play him in the Pacers series.
Although it was probably unintentional, there was a little shade in the statement from Cope’s agent, who said the main reason for his client’s departure was the desire to play for a “championship-caliber” team. All in all, I’m sad to see Cope not develop further under us but it’s not like he’s output can’t be replaced via another free-agent signing. This just adds another wrinkle to the various rivalries the Knicks will have for next season.
The Knicks and J.R. Smith have come to terms on a new contract that will pay the 2013 Sixth Man of the Year $24.7 million over the next four years.
The deal was the maximum the Knicks could offer Smith, who also considered offers from the Bucks, Pistons and Mavericks. According to Smith’s agent, Leon Rose, the deal has a player option on the fourth and final year.
With repeated injuries to Amar’e Stoudemire, Smith emerged as the second scoring option behind Carmelo Anthony and averaged 18 points and 5 rebounds. Smith’s strong played continued early in the playoffs, but dipped mightily following a one-game suspension for elbowing Celtics guard Jason Terry in game three of New York’s opening playoff series. Smith would go on to average just 33% shooting from the field in route to the 4-2 series loss to the Indiana Pacers in the second round.
Smith lead all players in the NBA with points off the bench last season. The deal is expected to become official on July 10.
As erratic as JR was during the playoffs (and the first half of the season), I’m very happy he’s returning. There is no other player on the market that could make up his output for the money. JR is not meant to be a second scoring option player, and if we can just get the rest of the team healthy (namely Stat), Smith should be able to have another productive season. I never much doubted he’d leave due to his roots in New Jersey and love for Coach Woodson, but I hope his playoff performance has left a sour taste in his mouth and pushes him to prove all the naysayers wrong this coming year.
In the meantime, let’s celebrate!
With crosstown and division rivals the Brooklyn Nets shaking up their core with the acquisitions of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the New York Knicks made their first big move of the off-season in trading veterans Steve Novak and Marcus Camby to the Toronto Raptors for their much-maligned center/foward hybrid Andrea Bargnani.
My initial reaction was one of disgust. After last season, where we saw literally every big on the roster fall due to nagging injuries, the last thing the squad needed was another injury-plagued 7-footer. And in Bargnani’s case, why pick up a big man who doesn’t rebound well (averaging just four over his seven-year career) and is coming off his worst year last season? Bargnani played just 35 games due to season-ending elbow surgery.
But the more I thought about it, the better I felt. Make no mistake, I’m not happy, but Bargnani can’t be any worse than what we got from Novak and Camby last year. Novak’s shooting went down and defensively he was a huge liability on every play. Camby couldn’t stay healthy for any stretch of the season to justify the multi-year contract he was sitting on. It remains to be seen if Bargnani can remain healthy, but at least we get a guy who can space the floor and create his own shot (that’s huge in preventing the offensive stagnation that plagued the team). And while his contract ugly at first glance ($23 million over the next two years), Bargnani be off the books like everyone else in 2015 when the Knicks can blow up the team if needed.
The Raptors will also get Quentin Richardson, a 2016 first round pick, and two second rounders (2014, 2017). It’s an ok deal, but only if Bargnani can be reliable enough to contribute 12-15 points a night. It would seem like a given based on his career, but we all know players all of a sudden like to turn into complete trash when they come to New York.
Will the change to a winning culture and a no-nonsense coach make Bargnani a valued contributor and a crowd favorite in New York City? Us Knicks fans can only hope so (and pray this isn’t the last big off-season move from NY…).
An MRI on Wednesday (May 22) revealed that Carmelo Anthony played the last two months of the season with a partially torn labrum.
Had the injury been a full tear, Anthony would have been required to undergo surgery and a 3-5 month recovery period. The Knicks medical staff is hopeful Anthony can make a full recovery via 3-4 weeks of rest. He will be reevaluated in late July.
Anthony originally suffered the labrum tear during a collision with Indiana Pacer David West during a regular season game on April 14. Anthony played all 12 Knick playoff games before the team was eliminated last week.
Anthony shot 45% during the regular season but saw his efficiency dip to 40% during the playoffs.
All things considered, Melo had a great year and one of the best of his career. He secured his first scoring title, lead the Knicks to 54 wins (a first in 13 years) and a decent playoff run. Nonetheless, I believe this injury, and the other ones he suffered throughout the season, is a clear indicator a major change needs to happen regarding Anthony’s “role.”
What role am I speaking of? The one that’s required Anthony to play the power forward position for most of this past season. Melo’s a strong small forward who should only play the four in spots. Banging with bruisers inside like David West on the regular is too much over the long haul of a season. We can only hope Amar’e Stoudemire actually stays healthy for once and pulls his weight at his natural position.