One name that has consistently floated in and out of Knicks rumors this offseason is Josh Howard. The former All-Star had been mentioned in connection with the Knicks last offseason too, choosing instead to sign with Utah. Last season, he averaged 8.7 ppg and 3.7 rpg for the Jazz.
Howard, who played his first seven seasons with the Mavericks, is a capable scorer and defender. He was an integral part of the 05-06 team that made it to the finals, scoring 15.6 ppg and shooting 43% from beyond the three point line. His 3-point shooting has been inconsistent, with a career percentage of 33.3 percent.
The 6-7 forward would probably back up Carmelo Anthony, and add to the veteran depth the front office has put together. The biggest downsides of Howard are that he lost a lot of his athletic ability after tearing his ACL in 2010 as well as his only decent 3 point shooting. The position is also crowded–the team already has Chris Copeland and James White as potential back up forwards, as well as sharp shooter Steve Novak.
The Knicks have 15 roster spots filled, although Chris Smith (J.R.’s brother) is only guaranteed through training camp, and you can invite as many players to camp as you would like. There have also been rumors that the team would rather sign a potential back-up for Amar’e Stoudemire. The only power forwards on the roster besides STAT is Kurt Thomas if you don’t count him as a center.
Other potential options are Kenyon Martin, Sean Williams, and Andray Blatche. Martin is less likely, because he is looking for more money than the veterans minimum. Blatche is probably looking for a larger role, and is also known to have maturity issues that would not fit in with the Knick’s win now attitude. That leaves Sean Williams as the best option. He can defend and block shots which would fit in perfectly with Mike Woodson’s defensive schemes.
As for Josh Howard, he could serve an important role as well. The lack of offensive weapons that can create their own shot caused a problem last season when ‘Melo and STAT were not getting it done. Outside of J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton, the roster is made up of a lot of supporting players that need to be in put into ideal situations to score. Adding Josh Howard would bring an additional player who can score the ball himself, which may be needed if someone goes down with an injury.
However, I don’t envision Howard signing with the Knicks. The lack of a need for a scorer to back up our best player is the leading reason. STAT, unlike ‘Melo, has a history of injury, and the lack of depth behind his position is the only hole left in the roster.