According to Yahoo! NBA writer Marc Spears on Twitter, the New York Knicks are “intrigued” by free agent forward Brandon Bass and are expected to be one of the teams that will show interest in recently bought out forward Rashard Lewis.
First, its nice that the Knicks are intrigued by Brandon Bass. I mean, why wouldn’t they? Bass burst onto the scene last season playing the sixth man role for the Celtics down the stretch, and had some of his best performances of his career for Boston in the playoffs. He’s a big man that can hit open 18-foot jumpers and battle bigger bodies underneath for rebounds.
However, there’s a very good reason that he chose to opt out of his contract in Boston. That reason is he’s due for a raise. And a big one. Judging the NBA free agent market, the same one in which Roy Hibbert was offered a maximum contract offer sheet by the Portland Trail Blazers, players are going to get overpaid in some instances. Brandon Bass is bound to be one of those players. He can do better than the highest offer the Knicks could give him (probably somewhere around the $5 million range). I fully expect some time to pony up and wow Bass with a four-year, $35-38 million offer. The Knicks, wisely, should not even think of Bass in those terms.
So, intrigue is nice, but it doesn’t pay the bills. Brandon Bass is a fun name to think about and imagine in a Knicks uniform, but it won’t happen. Sorry to be the Debbie Downer.
Now, as for Rashard Lewis, this is a name I’m completely on board with entertaining. Lewis was due a ridiculous $23 million+ by the New Orleans Hornets, who acquired him in the Emeka Okafor trade before the NBA Draft. The Hornets had two options with Lewis, either keep him on the books as a valuable trade asset with the NBA’s highest expiring contract. Or, as they chose, buy out Lewis for $2 million and cut him loose before you have to start paying him big boy dollars.
Its been a very long time since Lewis had a meaningful NBA moment. He only played in 28 games last year, averaging 7.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and playing in only 26 minutes a night. He’s on the wrong side of 30, and its rather clear that, at this point in his career, his best basketball is behind him.
Even with all that said, Lewis is only going to get the veteran minimum from whichever team he decides to sign with. He’s a perfect example of a promising low-risk, high-reward type player. Maybe Lewis will be rejuvenated by playing with a contender and seeing somewhere around 15 minutes a night. He can still score when he is on his game (like his 20-point performance against the Magic last season).
If the Knicks do decide to bring aboard Lewis, its important to view him in the role he should be playing. The Knicks aren’t looking for him to be the All-Star he was with Seattle or Orlando. Instead, he’d be a hybrid 3-4 the Knicks would bring in off the bench after guys like J.R. Smith or Steve Novak. He’d be a second-unit player, and a complimentary part to the Knicks bench.
With so many whole the Knicks do need to fill with the little salary cap flexibility they do have (back-up point guard), finding a cheap player on the wing who can record important minutes off the bench, Rashard Lewis would be a great investment.
Of the two names, Lewis is the one us Knicks fans should take more seriously.