According to a report from Marc Berman of the Post, the Knicks have emerged as favorites to sign free agent point guard Beno Udrih. Udrih’s name has been linked to the Knicks for the past week or so, with several reports indicating that he had become the Knicks’ top target in free agency. According to Berman, the Knicks may be closing the deal.
The Knicks have emerged as the favorite to sign 31-year-old Slovenian point guard Beno Udrih to a $1.27 million minimum contract, according to two sources. An announcement could come as soon as Thursday.
The Knicks have been looking at Udrih as well as other third point guard options like Bobby Brown (who’s signed a deal with a Chinese team) and Chris Duhon, but Udrih has been the Knicks’ top candidate. Udrih has spent the last few seasons with the Sacramento Kings until he was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in 2012, and then to the Orlando Magic in 2013. The Knicks would be very excited if they do, in fact, land Udrih for the veteran’s minimum, considering he made $7 million last season.
Although it’s a smaller move late in the summer, Udrih could come away as the Knicks’ best signing of the summer. They desperately need a third point guard, and Udrih could not only act as injury insurance to Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni, but he could make a case as a regular rotation player. Last year in his 27 games with the Orlando Magic — nine of which he started — Udrih averaged 10 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds, and 1 steal per game while shooting nearly 40% from three-point range. For his career, Udrih has averaged 9 points, 3.6 assists, 2 rebounds, and 35% shooting from downtown.
Signing a third point guard like Udrih would also mean Mike Woodson has the option to use two-point guard lineups again. Felton, Prigioni, and Udrih can all play on or off the ball, acting as play-makers or floor-spacers. The Knicks were best on offense when they had two point guards on the floor, and the signing of Udrih would allow Mike Woodson to go to those lineups once again with a third point guard waiting on the bench to expel the other two.
It should be noted that Udrih isn’t much of a defensive presence. According to Basketball Reference, for his career, Udrih’s teams have a 111 Defensive Rating with Udrih on the floor. However, if he were to come off the bench, he likely wouldn’t see the faster point guards in the league, so the Knicks would maybe be able to mask his defensive deficiencies. Furthermore, the offensive skills he could bring to the Knicks actually outweigh any defensive liability.
We’ll have to wait for further details, but in the meantime, these are some very positive rumors for the Knicks.
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