Citing a source close to the team, ESPN New York's Jared Zwerling reports that the Knicks are considering adding a veteran point guard to supplement Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni. While injuries have decimated their frontcourt, Zwerling says a lack of free agent options has led the Knicks to consider opting for guard help.
Zwerling indicates that the Knicks are ideally looking for a point guard that has some speed and quickness, in contrast to the wisdom and decision making of the older Kidd and Prigioni. The source points to Delonte West, Sundiata Gaines and Jannero Pargo as options, with West being the most likely. While West has some issues – as evidenced by his absence from the NBA this year – the Saint Joseph's product would join a veteran roster in New York. Meanwhile, all signs point towards Pargo signing a 10-day contract with Charlotte tomorrow. So unless that deal falls through, the Knicks would have to hope the Bobcats let him walk once his contract expires if they want to pursue him.
Two of those veterans are injured big men Amare Stoudemire and Rasheed Wallace, both out for the remainder of the regular season. Zwerling says Mike Woodson remains committed to Wallace, probably making James White the odd man out should the team decide it needs a roster spot.
Should the Knicks decide their need for frontcourt help is too pressing to consider anything else, Zwerling lists Henry Sims, Tony Battie, Josh Boone, Brian Cook, Dan Gadzuric, Troy Murphy, Ben Wallace, Hassan Whiteside and Sean Williams as potential targets. While Sims provides the most intrigue of the bunch, Zwerling says the Knicks would prefer a veteran.
One reunion between a star player and his former home court received plenty of fanfare yesterday, as Dwight Howard put up a monster 39-point, 16-rebound line in his return to Orlando. Tonight will feature another star playing his former team, as Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks face the Nuggets in Denver. Because of the 2011 lockout, the Knicks didn't travel to Denver in a shortened '11/12 season, making this time the first time Carmelo has played in Denver since being traded in February 2011.
Here are a few Wednesday morning Knicks notes, with a focus on that Carmelo trade:
- Discussing his desire to be traded to New York, Anthony tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports that a number of Nuggets players at the time were on expiring contracts, and he was facing the possibility of being on a rebuilding team. "People didn't really know the business side of the situation we were in," Anthony said. "Everybody's contract was up. They had plans of going younger. People from the outside looking in didn't really get it."
- When the Nuggets and Knicks finalized the blockbuster deal, it was one of two options on the table for Denver GM Masai Ujiri. According to Spears, an offer from the Nets was also available, which included Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, Troy Murphy, and three draft picks. The Nets ultimately sent a similar package to the Jazz for Deron Williams.
- Sunny Saini of ESPN Stats & Info and Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com each explore the question of who "won" the 'Melo trade between the Nuggets and Knicks. Begley reaches the same conclusion I would, arguing that both sides would likely do the deal again.
- Ian O'Connor of ESPNNewYork.com believes that, as bad as Amare Stoudemire's contract looks for the Knicks, it was a necessary evil, since it contributed significantly to the team becoming relevant again.
Some notes from around the NBA's Southwest Division.
2:38pm: The Mavs have officially waived Murphy, according to a team release.
12:00pm: A day after reaching an agreement to sign Derek Fisher, the Mavericks will waive Troy Murphy in order to clear a roster spot, reports Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. Fisher's deal with the team is expected to be finalized once Murphy is released.
Murphy, 32, appeared in 14 games for the Mavericks, including one start. In 18.3 minutes per contest, he averaged 4.6 PPG and 3.5 RPG, shooting just 36.1% from the floor and 31.4% from downtown, well below his career rates (44.5% and 38.8%). Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram noted last night (via Twitter) that Murphy and his non-guaranteed deal would be a strong candidate to be waived for Fisher if Dallas felt Dirk Nowitzki was making good progress in his recovery.
Because he was on a non-guaranteed contract, Murphy won't remain on the books for the full veteran's minimum. However, having spent nearly four weeks with the team, he will earn a pro-rated portion of that salary, and the Mavs will take a cap hit for the same amount. Earlier today, I detailed Murphy's role in the revolving door that has been the Mavericks' 15th roster spot so far this season.
With news of Steve Nash's leg fracture keeping him out for another week, Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles thinks that this will be a good opportunity for Darius Morris to prove himself, noting that that his potential is what helped the Lakers decide to keep him over recently-cut guard Andrew Goudelock. McMenamin also cited Mike Brown's postgame comments last night about Morris, who also appeared to be encouraged about the second year point guard's ability to change the tempo of the game and apply good defensive pressure (Sulia link). Here are more of this evening's links out of the Western Conference:
- Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram writes that Troy Murphy's familiarity with Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle's system made the 6'11 forward an ideal fit with the team. Although Murphy is not yet in 'great' shape, Price says that he will be expected to help stretch the floor with his shooting ability.
- Darnell Mayberry of NewsOK shared a handful of notes from Thunder practice today, mentioning that Kendrick Perkins should be ready to play the Hawks on Sunday after spraining his ankle last night, discussing the growing confidence of Hasheem Thabeet amidst concerns about the team's depth at center, Serge Ibaka's early shooting struggles, and coach Scott Brooks' effort to get minutes for Jeremy Lamb, among other topics.
- Nick Gallo of NBA.com looks at the Thunder's emphasis on protecting the paint this season and how center Hasheem Thabeet can be used effectively in that role against bigger lineups.
- K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweeted that Hornets coach Monty Williams credits Knicks center Tyson Chandler for Anthony Davis' development during the London Olympics this past summer. Williams also weighed in on the league's concussion policy, addressing the notion that Davis could miss several games because of league protocol after suffering a mild concussion yesterday: "It's just that now you treat everybody like they have on white gloves and pink draws. It's just getting old, but it's just the way the league is now…I'm not saying I don't like it; we've got to protect our players…but as a coach I’m a baby about it. I want my guys ready to play.'' (John Reid of NOLA.com reports).
Over the weekend, the Mavericks inked forward Troy Murphy to a one-year deal and waived Eddy Curry in order to create roster space for him. The 6'11" big man could provide the Mavs with some outside shooting off the bench, but he may not be ready to start draining threes right away, tweets Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram. "I haven’t practiced or anything. I've been running at the local health club, so I don’t know what that translates to," Murphy said. Here's more from around the Association..
- While confessing that he is biased, guard Jamal Crawford said that he believes the Clippers are now the deepest team in the NBA. In addition to Crawford, the Clippers added key veterans such as Grant Hill, Lamar Odom, and Willie Green to the fold this summer.
- Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel doesn't see the Celtics holding a fire sale mid-season, even if they falter somewhat. Coach Doc Rivers will likely ration Kevin Garnett's minutes throughout the season in order to preserve him for the playoffs, so their record may not reflect where they are competitively.
- Mavericks big man Elton Brand says that he'll miss Curry's sizable presence in the paint, Price writes. At the same time, Brand notes that he is excited about the addition of Murphy and the tenacity that he brings.
SATURDAY 6:39pm: The Mavericks made the signing official in a press release.
FRIDAY 8:04pm: The Mavericks, currently at the maximum roster limit of 15, are working to free up a spot for Murphy, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Dallas would like to make room for the 6'11" forward by trading guard Dominique Jones, but so far they have been unsuccessful.
7:00pm: The Mavericks have agreed to sign forward Troy Murphy to a one-year deal, a league source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). Murphy spent last season with the Lakers, but didn't make a tremendous impact in his time with the club.
Murphy wasn't drawing a tremendous amount of interest from NBA clubs this offseason and seemed likely to sign a contract overseas. However, the Mavericks have decided to take a low-risk flier on the sharpshooting big man. Of the remaining late-summer free agents, Murphy had the best 2011/12 three-point shooting percentage with 41.8%.
Last season, Murphy averaged 3.2 PPG and 3.2 RPG in 59 games with the Lakers. For his career, the 32-year-old has averaged 10.9 PPG and 7.9 RPG across eleven seasons.
Troy Murphy didn't have a major impact off the bench for the Lakers this past season, but as we saw when we examined the top outside shooters still available, no unsigned free agent posted a better three-point percentage in 2011/12 than Murphy's 41.8%. Still, based on the news and rumors out there this summer, the big man doesn't seem to be drawing much interest from NBA teams.
One club that may be interested in Murphy, however, is Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv. The team reached an agreement with Pops Mensah-Bonsu earlier in the summer, but with questions arising about Mensah-Bonsu's physical condition, a replacement may be necessary. And according to David Pick of Sportando, Murphy is one name that's been mentioned as a possibility.
Mensah-Bonsu is scheduled to arrive in Israel for a medical check-up in mid-September, according to Pick, so Murphy is on the backburner for Maccabi Tel Aviv. In the meantime, the 32-year-old will presumably continue to seek an NBA contract, despite the apparent lack of interest.
After recording a 16.0 PER for the first nine years of his career, Murphy has struggled in limited minutes over the last two seasons, posting an 8.7 PER for the Nets, Celtics, and Lakers.