The Knicks continue to build a roster of players who were better about a half decade ago.
The latest: Re-signing Lou Amundson.
New York Knickerbockers President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has re-signed forward Lou Amundson. T
Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops:
The Knicks had only the minimum to offer, so that’s surely what Amundson got. Amundson is New York’s 15th player – the regular-season roster limit – with a guaranteed salary, though it wouldn’t be costly to eat a guaranteed rookie minimum deal of Maurice Ndour or Marshall Plumlee and. Ron Baker, J.P. Tokoto and Chasson Randle have partial guarantees.
Amundson provides an abundance of insurance behind big men Kristaps Porzingis, Joakim Noah, Kyle O’Quinn and Guillermo Hernangomez.
After earning a one-year contract last summer with his play the second half of 2013-14, Amundson sharply declined last season. He didn’t finish well at the rim, could barely convert at all from mid-range and fouled way too much defensively. That came in a small sample of 204 minutes in 29 games, but there’s a reason Amundson played so little. He’ll still hustle, but age 33, that’s becoming less useful.
The New York Knicks have 14 guaranteed contracts set up for next season. Which means they may stand pat, but they can carry one more guy on the roster.
Caron Butler would love to be that guy he told Anthony Donahue on the 33rd and 7th podcast.
Butler is going to be open to any job offered at this point.
The real question is, do the Knicks want him?
At age 36, Butler on the court is a catch-and-shoot option, except he shot just 16.7 percent from three last season in Sacramento. Butler still has a fantastic basketball IQ, he’s still the kind of veteran a lot of teams could use in the locker room (why do you think the Kings brought him in last season?), but he’s just lost a couple of steps and isn’t the same player.
It’s tough to imagine the Knicks putting Butler in that last slot over a wing like J.P. Tokoto who they could try to develop (and already have on a partial guarantee contract).
Stephen Jackson wants back in the NBA. This season.
The question is where?
As you might imagine, the loquacious Jackson has some ideas on the matter, something he talked about in an interview with Hoopshype.com.
For example, there’s the Knicks.
“The Knicks are a great team too. Anytime you can play with a great player like Carmelo Anthony and a young, up-and-coming star like Kristaps Porzingis… Also they have Joakim Noah. They are going in the right direction. I want to be part of a team that wants to win. Guys that are trusting each other, guys that don’t mind playing hard. There’s a lot of guys in the NBA right now that are making money but they really don’t care if they win or lose as long as they are getting the paycheck and I’ve never been like that.”
Also, he says Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo want him on the Bulls.
“Well, actually not a lot of people know that Jimmy has been calling me. We’ve been talking for like three months now. Even [Rajon] Rondo has been calling me, they really want me on the Bulls team. I’ve been talking to a lot of guys, because guys know what I bring.”
The question is “bring” or “brought?” Jackson has a long and impressive NBA career that includes a title with the Spurs. However, the last time we saw him on an NBA court was two seasons ago when he played just nine games for the Clippers.
The other question: Do the Knicks and Bulls want to get older? With those rosters?
The Bulls do have a roster spot available if they are willing to cut someone like Spencer Dinwiddie, but they are over the cap and can only offer the minimum. The Knicks are in the same boat, they could make room for Jackson by cutting people like J.P. Tokoto, but all they can offer is a minimum deal.
Maybe one of these teams will give Jackson a make-good training camp contract, but it’s hard to imagine anything more after a couple of seasons away from the league.
The Knicks need a third point guard behind Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings.
Most teams carry a third point guard, anyway. Rose’s and Jennings’ injury histories demand depth at the position. Courtney Lee and Justin Holiday can’t comfortably slide to the 1 from shooting guard, and Sasha Vujacic – closer to a combo guard – isn’t that effective at his best position.
Enter Chasson Randle.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:
Randle went undrafted out of Stanford last year. But he played well overseas and for the Knicks in summer league. His comfort with a triangle offense, speed and ball-handling ability should help him competently run New York’s offense. His 6-foot-2 frame is an issue, especially defensively.
He’ll compete with Ron Baker and J.P. Tokoto – two other players presumably with partially guaranteed salaries – for the final regular-season roster spot. Baker must adjust after primarily playing shooting guard at Wichita State, but he has point guard skills (and size). Tokoto is it a disadvantage as a wing.
Ron Baker will have competition for the Knicks’ 15th regular-season roster spot – J.P. Tokoto.
Know why Tokoto could get this deal? He accepted the 76ers’ required tender after they drafted him in the second-round last year following indications he initially pledged to reject it.
Teams must extend the tender – a one-year contract, surely unguaranteed at the minimum – to retain exclusive negotiating rights on a second-round pick. If a player rejects the tender, the team retains those rights for a year.
Tokoto forced the 76ers’ hand by accepting the tender, going to training camp and getting waived to become an unrestricted free agent last year. Had he allowed the 76ers to stash him last season, they’d be the only team he could bargain with now. Philadelphia already has 20 players – five more than the regular-season roster limit – and reportedly plans to sign undrafted North Carolina State guard Cat Barber at some point.
New York presents a much better opportunity for Tokoto.
Tokoto’s D-League rights are already held by the Thunder’s affiliate – which suggests the Knicks like him for their NBA roster (or could have the Westchester Knicks trade for him). This differs from Baker, whose D-League rights the Knicks could simply assign to Westchester by waiving him.
More second-rounders should follow Tokoto’s lead and not allow the drafting team to maintain exclusive negotiating rights while not paying them. This is where his strategy pays off.