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If Not Melo, Then Who?

By Jared Dubin
Follow me on Twitter: @JADubin5

            The Knicks’ top target this trade deadline is obviously Carmelo Anthony. Pretty sure everybody already knows about that one. But if Donnie Walsh is unable to agree on a trade with new Denver Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri, he should look to upgrade the team in other ways. I’ve already detailed how this Knicks team is in need of a backup point guard. The Knicks also desperately need a defensive minded center, because while Ronny Turiaf may be a fan favorite, he doesn’t stay on the court and isn’t talented enough offensively for Mike D’Antoni to justify playing him big minutes. The Knicks have also struggled to defend talented swingmen, so a wing defender is another area of need for New York. With this in mind, I’ll take a look at some players who I think would be pretty good fits for this team, for Mike D’Antoni’s system, and for the team’s future salary cap flexibility, which Walsh would like to maintain so he is able to make a run at Carmelo this summer, and Chris Paul, Deron Williams, or Dwight Howard the summer after that.

Joel Pryzbilla, C, Portland – Pryzbilla has played in just 26 games so far this season for Portland, and sparingly at that. While the Knicks would probably like to get their hands on another center for the Trail Blazers (Marcus Camby), Pryzbilla’s expiring contract probably makes him a better fit. He is a solid defensive presence who can also run the floor, and would be a great fit next to Amar’e Stoudemire. 

Samuel Dalembert, C, Sacramento – Dalembert is another talented defensive center that is not much of a contributor on offense. However, he could anchor the defense for the Knicks’ second unit, and he also has an expiring contract, which fits in well with the Knicks’ desire for future flexibility. He’s averaging 1.6 blocks in just 20 minutes per game in Sacramento, and he would add to the Knicks’ league-leading shot blocking total.

Shane Battier, SG/SF, Houston – Battier is not mentioned much in trade discussions, but he could be a very valuable piece for a playoff team. He plays excellent defense, and doesn’t require any plays to be run for him to score the basketball. His game is somewhat similar to Landry Fields, but even more refined because he’s been in the league for a while. He has the ability to knock down the open three as well.

Andre Iguodala, SF, Philadelphia – Iggy’s name has been dangled in trade discussions for some time, and with good reason. The 76ers seem to have their backcourt of the future set in Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner, and Iguodala replicates many of the same skills that Turner brings to the table, for a lot more money. He’s a terrific defensive player as he showed for Team USA last summer, and his high-flying style would fit in well with Mike D’Antoni’s fast-paced offense. However, his contract runs through 2012-13, so it would come at the cost of losing out on free agents in the next couple of summers.

Luke Ridnour, PG, Minnesota – The Knicks desperately need a point guard who can run the offense for the second unit, and although they’d probably like to get their hands on a different point guard under the Timberwolves’ control (Ricky Rubio), Ridnour is a steady option as well. He is especially proficient in pick-and-roll situations, which is the centerpiece of Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system. Ridnour’s contract does run for another 3 seasons after this one, so the Knicks may be hesitant to pull the trigger on a deal for him as well.

Nene, C, Denver – It’s highly unlikely that the Nuggets will trade Nene if they don’t trade Carmelo Anthony because they’ll likely try to make one last playoff run with their current group. However, Nene is just about a perfect fit for the Knicks. He plays great defense both in the post and in help situations, and he’s having the most efficient offensive season of his career. His injury troubles seem to be behind him, and his contract is expiring this season as well.

Troy Murphy, PF/C, New Jersey – You’d be hard pressed to find a player that fits in better with the Knicks’ needs than Murphy. He’s a 6’10” athletic, shot-blocking, three-point-shooting big man who is also a terrific rebounder. He’d be a good frontcourt mate for Amar’e and allow Wilson Chandler to come off the bench to provide some scoring punch for the second unit. Murphy’s contract expires at the end of this season.

Jason Williams, PG, Orlando – White Chocolate is an excellent passer and a good enough shooter to hold his own in D’Antoni’s offense. He’d presumably be a joy to watch in the open court, as he was in Sacramento. However, he was recently replaced as backup point guard for the Magic by a familiar face to Knicks fans… Chris Duhon. That does not say good things about Williams’ current skill set.

Deron Williams, PG, Utah – Jerry Sloan stepped down as Jazz coach today, and rumors are that it was because of his contentious relationship with star point guard Williams. Deron is one of the best point guards in the league, if not the best, and he is one of the few players in the league who are/could be available who would be an upgrade over Raymond Felton at that spot. If he’s really unhappy in Utah, the Jazz could look to trade him sooner rather than later, to avoid a LeBron James/Chris Bosh/Carmelo Anthony situation next year with all the media distractions centering on Williams.

1 comment:

  1. I like making a run at Williams, that trade could happen as the Jazz need to be blown up and a new era needs to be born for them.