It didn’t take long at all after the New York Knicks season finished in Miami last night for star forward Amar’e Stoudemire to start clamoring to bring in his former teammate in Phoenix, soon-to-be free agent point guard Steve Nash.
According to The New York Daily News, Amar’e said, “Everyone knows that Steve loves New York and that New York loves Steve. I love Steve. It would be great to have him here next year.”
Clearly, one of the Knicks biggest weaknesses against the Miami Heat in this year’s first round was their play from the point. However, they played without Jeremy Lin for the entire series, got a little bit more than a half out of Iman Shumpert before he went down with a torn ACL, saw Baron Davis’s career end with his bevvy of knee injuries and were forced to start Mike Bibby in a critical Game 5. So, yeah, the Knicks had issues.
But, just one day after the season ended, its a little premature for any of us to start talking about what the Knicks need to do, or should do for that matter, in order to improve this off-season. There are a ton of questions that need answering.
And maybe the first one that needs to be addressed: is Amar’e Stoudemire an active part of the Knicks future? Is there a team out there that would take the remaining three years on his contract, along with his uninsured knees, so the Knicks would have more financial flexibility? With that said, I fully expect STAT to stay here in New York and be ready to contribute in a more normal, non-condensed 66 game season. I think that many games in so few days really took its toll on Amar’e. He’s better than how he played this year, and we’ll see that next year.
After answering that question, remember Lin-sanity? And how Knicks fans wanted to give him a max contract after his incredible seven-game win streak once he was inserted into the starting line-up? Well, the team needs to figure out his value, and if he’s worth the money that will be necessary to lock him up as their starting point guard.
Then the team will need to figure out what to do about key reserves like J.R. Smith and Steve Novak, who are both in line for raises after their strong 2012 campaigns. In that regard, I see Novak sticking around far more likely than Smith, who signed for the mini-mid level exception after escaping China in February.
Look, the Knicks aren’t going to have a ton of money to play around with, so any free agent decision they do make needs to be the correct one. This team also lacks a first-round draft pick this year, which means they won’t be able to build bench depth with cheap rookie contracts like they were able to do last year with Iman Shumpert.
Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire will play next year with max contracts. Tyson Chandler’s contract is above the mid-level exception. Iman Shumpert will be able to play on his rookie contract, and I believe Landry Fields will be on his rookie contract option years as well. Throw in Josh Harrelson and Jerome Jordan, and right now that’s all the Knicks have locked into their 2012-13 campaign. There are a lot of questions swirling around the make-up of this team heading into next year. Oh, and they still don’t have a coach locked up either.
Would Steve Nash be a great addition? Absolutely. Is it much to early to speculate about his arrival. Definitely.