Free Agent Talk

Tyson Chandler Highlights and Interview

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Here is the link to his interview on Ben and Skin this morning

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Chris Paul Will be a Laker

Well Chris Paul is not going to be a Knick. The Lakers went ahead and swapped Pau Gasol and Odom for Chris Paul. The trade is proposed to be a 3 way with Houson. Lakers get Paul, Houston gets Gasol, New Orleans gets Odom, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola and Goran Dragic.

Honestly, I think the Lakers get worse. Their biggest advantage was having the two 7 footers down low. They no longer have that and have a gaping hole at the 4 and an injury prone Andrew Bynum playing center. The Lakers bench seemingly looks worse than what the Heat or Knicks have right now. I think if the Lakers then get Dwight Howard then its a different story but this team right now definitely isn’t the best in the Western Conference. OKC is better. Memphis might be better. Portland looks good. LA right now is in transition but right now they do not improve from this deal.

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Knicks Close to Signing Tyson Chandler

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Wooo!!!! Its almost final. Billups out. Chandler in. I think Chandler is a great signing. Is he overpaid a bit? Sure but in today’s Eastern Conference, a big man can make all the difference. Miami: No center. Chicago: Noah is good but Chandler is just as good. Boston: No center. Atlanta: Undersized Al Horford. Orlando: Dwight Howard is leaving. The Knicks may have the best center in the Eastern Conference right now. I love also that Billups is gone. I have respect for Billups but he was a horrid fit with Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. He shot the ball too much and he wasn’t a distributor.

Chandler will have a 4 year, 58 million dollar deal which means Turiaf will also need to go in order to make the salaries work. I think the Knicks have to bring Jerome Jordan over now. What better center to learn from than a leader like Chandler? I think this is a home run by the Knicks assuming Chandler can stay healthy.

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Money Mase, We Hardly Knew Ye

According to the NY Post

Mason out, Tinsley in?

Free agent guard Roger Mason, a central figure in labor negotiations as union vice president, won’t be returning to the Knicks.

“Unfortunately, I won’t be back with the Knicks,’’ Mason told The Post. “I’ll miss the city, fans and most in the organization.’’

According to a source, Mason likely is to return to the Wizards, where he played two seasons from 2006-08. Mason’s agent also has talked to the Nets, New Orleans, Golden State, the Lakers and Boston.

I’m kinda sad to see Roger Mason go. I liked him in the playoffs last season. I thought he could have helped the team last year but his early struggles led him to eat pine for most the season. Unfortunately, Bill Walker received significant minutes during the 2nd half of the season that I believe Mason could have filled more adequately. I thought Mason was fun to watch in game 4 vs Boston when he helped lead a comeback that ultimately fell short.

Possible replacements for Mason are current Knick Andy Rautins, free agents Grant Hill and Michael Redd and former Pacers guard Jamaal Tinsley (yes that Jamaal Tinsley and yes he is still playing basketball).

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JJ Barea Wouldn’t Mind Being a Knick

According to the NY Daily News free agent guard JJ Barea considers the Knicks a great second option if he is unable to return to Dallas:

“I always said the Knicks would be a great second option. I love the city. I love the way they’re playing now, their style of play with D’Antoni, the players over there,” said Barea, who was in Punta Cana to support slugger David Ortiz’s annual charity golf tournament. “We’ll see. I know Carmelo more than Amar’e. I think after (D’Antoni became coach), I said, ‘That would be a great fit for me.’”

I think Barea would be a nice fit. Obviously at 5’9 he is naturally a bit impaired on defense but I think having him as a spark plug off the bench would be a great addition. Logistically, Barea would have to accept a 1 year contract for less money than I assume he could make elsewhere. In sports, free agent players coming off championships are usually overvalued in the market so I expect Barea to get a nice payday. This is an interesting idea and I think he would be a nice fit but I don’t think it can happen if the Knicks are holding out for Chris Paul.

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Broussard on Paul: “This is Not About Money”

ESPN’s Chris Broussard gave an interview on ESPN New York’s Rucco and Lundberg today and he discussed the possibility of Chris Paul coming to New York. In the interview he said he believes that Paul would come to New York for less money which is music to a lot of Knick fans ears. He also said he thinks the Hornets would trade him to New York if there was something to trade for (thanks Melo) and he gave his opinion on a potential Amar’e-Dwight Howard trade.

Here is the interview

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Knicks Interested in Caron Butler

Ken Berger and Alan Hahn are confirming that the Knicks reached out to Caron Butler’s agent today to express their interest in the free agent small forward. If the Knicks were to sign Butler it would be under the Mid Level Exemption (up to $5M per year over 4 seasons). I think Butler would actually be a great 6th man but I think the purpose for signing Butler would to add a piece to include in a possible trade for either Dwight Howard or Chris Paul. If the Knicks were to go the route of building on the two stars they already have, Butler would be a great piece. He can score with the best of them and he is an excellent defender. Butler is the all around quality player that the Knicks lack coming off the bench. His acquisition would likely mean that either Shawne Williams or Derrick Brown would not be brought back next season. Obviously this is a very tentative idea of acquisition but it is very interesting.

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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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Earl Clark Signs in China

Well cross another potential Knicks free agent off the list. Former Orlando Magic forward Earl Clark has signed on to play in China next season. Clark is a free agent so there was no pressure for him to have an opt out clause. Even if there is an NBA season next year, Clark will be playing in China. He joins Joe Alexander as a player I wanted the Knicks to look at who will now be playing overseas next year. I wanted Clark to be a Knick because he is athletic and is a solid defensive player. I believe right now, he is an upgrade over Derrick Brown who is a work in progress. Shawne Williams is a free agent and will need to be re-signed. Clark would have been a great fit at the backup 3 but he will not be a Knick next season.

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What Happens Now to Anthony Carter?

With all the Knicks postseason talk about bringing in centers, the draft with Shumpert and Big Jorts and Mike D’Antoni’s defensive coordinator search, there has been no talk about Anthony Carter’s future with the team. The forgotten man was one of the better bench players down the stretch for the Knicks last season and I think the Knicks need to take a long hard look at bringing him back. Granted the first round selection of Iman Shumpert takes away another guard spot on the roster but I think Carter still brings alot to the table. Think back to game 4 against Boston when Carter led a fourth quarter comeback and hit a 3 to get the Knicks within 5 before Boston pulled away from the ailing Knicks. He showed that even at age 36, he still can be a very serviceable emergency point guard and I wouldn’t be so fast to throw him on the street now that Shumpert is on the team. Here is what the current guard situation looks like assuming Carter comes back:

PG Billups, Shumpert, Douglas, Carter
SG Fields, Douglas, Walker, Rautins

I think going in with Billups, Shumpert, Carter and Douglas as a combo guard would be a very good point guard rotation. I am not saying Carter deserves 20 minutes a game or even a bench spot, but why couldn’t Carter be a 12th man? Why not keep him around to mentor the younger players? He clearly knows how to play defense and how to bring energy every night. He can contribute big time in the locker room and if injuries happen he can step in and make a contribution. Now he is not a superstar or even an above average player but with Carmelo and Amare being the stars, we need high energy players willing to scrap and claw on defense and Carter is that kind of player.

As Amare says “If everybody on the team is a leader then the team is going to be better”. Anthony Carter is a leader. Despite his lack of elite ability, age and stature on the depth chart, he is a leader. He made the most of his opportunities last season and he made a great impression on the coaching staff. Just because we drafted Iman Shumpert does not mean that Carter deserves to be shown the door. I would endorse him coming back even as the 15th man, as long as he is around the team he will have a positive impact. I am a big Anthony Carter fan and, bias aside, he deserves to be back with this team next season and the team could use veteran leaders like him.

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