The Knicks have had a great offseason and interim GM Glen Grunwald deserves a lot of props. I do think that he deserves a bit of criticism, however, for the way the Shawne Williams situation played itself out.
It’s hard to knock a GM when a player decides to take more money from another team, which is exactly what Williams did, opting to take $6.1 over two years from the Nets instead of about $5 million over two from the Knicks, which was all they could offer. On a superficial level, it looks like nothing more than a player opting to take the extra money. I’m not knocking Williams for that.
But early on in the offseason, it seemed like the Knicks could get Williams for a discount. Instead of showing him their appreciation and turning to him - and a tremendous position of need at the backup four - as soon as the Chandler deal was done, the Knicks ogled Jamal Crawford for a week. They were never going to be able to afford Crawford. But they chased him and put Williams on the back-burner. And Shawne found another suitor in the meantime. [Update: Berman’s got a source that says Williams would have signed with the Knicks if they had made the offer earlier]
Now it’s on to Troy Murphy, Mo Evans and Michael Redd. Murphy is a better rebounding, worse shooting version of Williams who played 35 games last year and doesn’t seem to have garnered much interest this offseason. Evans is a capable defender who doesn’t do much else and has been on about twelve teams. Redd is a great shooter who has played 33, 18 and 10 games in each of the last three years. I’ve also heard Bostjan Nachbar is still in play. We’re getting down to the misfits, folks. Williams leaving isn’t the difference between the playoffs and a championship, but it would have been nice to have him back. [Update: Mo Evans signed with Washington. Redd is rumored to be close with Indiana. The Knicks are rumored to be interested in James Posey (see Berman column above). That’d be a good signing, assuming that the Knicks are trying to win the 2008 championship.]
I don’t think signing a backup power forward is optional at this point. Murphy or Nachbar, it doesn’t matter to me. [Posey, whatever.] A flyer on Redd for the minimum isn’t the worst idea in the world but I could take it or leave it. They should not use the $2.1 milllion “room exception” on a player who might not be able to play. It’s their last bit of money, they need to use it wisely.
Once the Knicks get the backup power forward situation sorted out they need to start thinking about point guard. I’m still interested in Baron Davis even though he’s going to be out ten weeks with a herniated disc in his back (what a fat guy injury, huh?). But I’ve got my fingers crossed that the Clippers amnesty Mo Williams now that they’ve got Paul and Bledsoe. He’s the get-the-job-done veteran point guard the Knicks need, without the baggage, injuries or weight problems of Baron.
All this is not to mention the fact that the Knicks have a game tomorrow. Very excited!