Knicks Free Agency: Who Goes? Who Stays?

The Knicks go into this free agency period with 5 free agents. Guards Anthony Carter and Roger Mason, Forwards Jared Jeffries and Shawne Williams and Center Shelden Williams. Before any moves can be made in terms of bringing a player in, the Knicks must decide which players they will bring back. It has been rumored that Shawne Williams, Roger Mason and Jared Jeffries will be offered veteran minimums and brought back for the 66 game 2011 NBA season. Are those 3 players the right guys to bring back?

Anthony Carter- I love Anthony Carter as a veteran leader. Unfortunately, we aren’t the Lakers or Celtics with late roster spots to give. We need 15 guys who can bring something to the table. I do not believe Anthony Carter fits on this team anymore. He was a nice fit last season when he had to play but with the drafting of Iman Shumpert I think Carter’s days as a Knick are over.

Roger Mason- I am a big proponent of Money Mase’s return to the Knicks. Mason showed his value late in the season and in the playoffs as an emergency guard and veteran leader. He struggled early and found himself in Coach D’Antoni’s doghouse. He showed down the stretch that he can play both guard spots if needed and he can shoot. I would feel more comfortable with Mason in there as opposed to Bill Walker or Andy Rautins.

Shawne Williams- Although he struggled down the stretch, I believe Williams should be retained for next season. Even though he struggled in the post-Melo trade era, his upside is without doubt. He is a 6’9 small forward who brings a great toughness to the team and who shot 40% from 3 last season. I think Williams proved himself on the court and off the court, staying off the police blotter, and I think he deserves another season with the Knicks.

Jared Jeffries – Say what you want about Jeffries’ offensive game but there is no denying that Jared Jeffries provides a defensive versatility that this team desperately needs. So what he averaged 1.8 points/game? The reality is that it doesn’t matter if Jeffries scores 0 points per game. In Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks have 2 of the most prolific scoring forwards of all time. Both players lack on the defensive end of the court. By contrast Jeffries is weak offensively but excels defensively. I think he is one of the guys that can help to provide more defensive help for this team and I think he should be retained.

Shelden Williams – I like Williams’ hustle and rebounding but the Knicks center right now is a numbers game. Turiaf is making 4 million this year so he is not going anywhere and should be the starter. 7’1 Jerome Jordan should make his Knicks debut this season after playing in Serbia for his rookie season. The team also drafted Josh “Jorts” Harrellson in the second round of the draft. These other centers all have more upside than Shelden Williams. The team will not have 4 centers and based on numbers and upside, Williams is the odd man out.

Overall, I think the Knicks will keep these guys because with over $60 million already in payroll they do not have the flexibility to be making a lot of moves right now. Not to mention that CP3 and D12 will be free agents next offseason and the Knicks do not want to tie up money that would restrict next years cap space.

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