he True Fans Bleed Blue and Orange: Knicks catering to Houston?h

Monday, October 08, 2007

Knicks catering to Houston?

Over the last couple of weeks the Knicks have had two headlines surrounding them. Isiah's messy trial, and a possible Allan Houston return. Houston has reportedly been offered an invite to the Knicks already packed training camp.

Last season Allan Houston (H20) proclaimed that he felt that if he were on the Knicks that they could have been helped by his veteran presence on the team, considering the Knicks only have a handful of veterans.Now that Houston is very close to returning to the Knicks it seems like New York, and their players, are trying everything they can to make Houston seem comfortable.

Last Sunday Isiah waived Dan Dickau (who has since been signed by the Clippers), lowering the Knicks roster size. Right now the roster that is invited to training camp stands at 19, not counting H20. Below is the list of training camp invitees, the Knicks will have to cut 4 of the players before the regular season starts (5 if Houston accepts the invite):
Renaldo Balkman
Wilson Chandler
Mardy Collins
Jamal Crawford
Eddy Curry
Jerome James
Jared Jeffries
Fred Jones
Jared Jordan
David Lee
Stephon Marbury
Randolph Morris
Demetris Nichols
Zach Randolph
Quentin Richardson
Nate Robinson
Malik Rose
Walker Russell
Roderick Wilmont

The Knicks clearly have an abundance of talent, and Isiah may wind up cutting someone who will come back to haunt him (a la Matt Carroll last season). Isiah likely will cut Walker Russel and Roderick Wilmont, as they are probably just there for extra bodies, and to indirectly tryout for other teams. With those two out of the picture the roster is down to 17, leaving 3 more players in the way of Houston. Next Isiah should do what Knicks fans have been asking him to do for the past two years. Buyout Jerome James. The man has absolutely no role on this team. With Zach Randolph here the Knicks have two capable centers, and a younger Randolph Morris to back them up. Now we are at 16 plus Houston.

This is where it gets tough. Isiah picked up Jared Jordan, a personal favorite of mine since his college days at Marist, but it does not appear that Jordan has a role on this team. At 6'2 185 Jordan is restricted to playing pg, and Mardy Collins is likely locked in at backup point guard (Collins is 4 inches taller than Jordan). I was incredibly impressed with Jordan's poise and leadership in college, however it doesn't look like he has a place on this team which is a shame, because I think he will be a player one day. So that eliminates Jordan.

That leaves the roster at 15, which is perfect for an Allan Houston-less team, but should H20 take the Knicks offer there is one more move that needs to be made. The three candidates that could be cut would likely be: Fred Jones, Demetris Nichols, and Jared Jeffries. Personally I would not cut any of these players, and would make a trade where I trade a handful of players for 1 to open roster space. However, it is not that easy and sometimes Isiah has to bite the bullet.

Fred Jones is well-known as a high-flying athletic NBA player. However, at 28 Jones has yet to break out, and has been no more than a role player on the teams he has played for. Although Jones prides himself on his defense and his new found commitment to winning, I don't know if he has a role on this team. Jones plays SG-SF, both spots that are at a great surplus on the Knicks. Renaldo Balkman, Wilson Chandeler, Quentin Richardson, Jared Jeffries, and Demetris Nichols all have just as much flexibility as Jones. As a result of the Knicks depth at his position, it is not likely he will make it into the Knicks rotation this year.

Demetris Nichols appears to be the dark-horse for the last rotation spot. He is in a similar situation to Houston in that the Knicks want him to be on the team because of his deadly jumper, but it has not been made clear if Nichols will be on the team once November hits. I feel that if Houston does indeed come to the Knicks that Nichols may benefit the most from it. Houston could take Nichols under his wing, and explain to him what Nichols needs to do to become successful in the NBA working mainly from a jumpshot. Houston and Nichols have very similar games, and Nichols could benefit greatly from Houston's veteran presence.

As for Jeffries, reports during the off-season said that he was very disappointed with how last season went for him, and he has been a work-a-holic this off-season. In fact, reports have come out saying he is a "completely different player". Even if Jeffries was the same player he was last year I would not cut him, simply because he was clearly uncomfortable last season, but he showed flashes of playing very well at times. In addition, he is a defensive player that the Knicks, quite simply, can't get enough of on their team. Oh, and by the way, Jeffries has offered to give up his number 20 for Allan Houston, a move that could only help the way he is viewed in the locker room.

If the only options are truly to cut one of those three players I feel Jones should be the one that is cut. Unfortunately Jones could have been a help for this team had their been room for him on the court, but sometimes that is just the way the cookie crumbles (sorry about the Bruce Almighty reference).

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