Even though the Knicks had to trade away Toney Douglas, Josh Harrellson and Jerome Jordan, who all either have potential or have given the team some quality minutes, they now have Marcus Camby and Jason Kidd and there really is no downside to those acquisitions.
They were able to sign Jason Kidd to a three-year contract, which will likely be the mid-level exception for 3.09 million, which is worth less than he could have received from other teams. Kidd said that he wanted the chance to help the Knicks become an elite team again. It also must have been a draw for him to play with Tyson Chandler, who he threw many alley-oops to when they played for the Mavericks.
Since the return of Jeremy Lin is basically imminent, it is common knowledge that the Knicks will match the back-loaded offer that the Rockets gave him, Kidd will be in a perfect situation for both the Knicks and himself. Lin is the point guard of the future based on averaging 14.6 points, 6.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds in the past season, as well as producing a stat line of 24.6 points and 9.2 assists, but he definitely needs some wisdom from a true point guard.
For one thing, before the Jason Kidd signing became official, the team did not have a point guard on the roster besides Lin. Lin is able to hit the outside shot, use the pick and roll to find the open teammate, and either score and pass at the basket, but Kidd will be able to help him know when to pull up for the jumper instead of driving to the hoop. Many of Lin’s turnovers last season came when he was in the paint, which proves that he is aggressive, but still has some development to do.
Kidd is one of the best passing point guards in NBA history and the Knicks will need his 3-point shooting ability and his ability to find the open man during crunch time. It might even make sense to pair Kidd with Lin at the end of a close game, so that Lin can learn to emulate Kidd. Lin will also be able to teach Kidd how to even better get Channdler, Anthony and Stoudemire the ball in position to score.
However, there is no doubt that Kidd, who is entering his eighteenth NBA season, has lost a step and can’t play 35-40 minutes a game like he used to. If Kidd (6.2 points and 5.5 assists last season with the Mavs), who has admitted that he is now best in a reserve role, can consistently give the team 15 minutes off the bench, they will have a consistent distributor in the second unit, unlike last season.
Marcus Camby, just like Kidd, will be able to add something to the second unit that was missing in the 2011-2012 season. His 6’11 frame will be able to consistently protect the basket in addition to consistently being able finish at or near the basket.
Jared Jeffries, who was often the back-up center last season, often could not handle a pass or make a lay-up or short jumper. (One area where Jeffries excelled was that he was able to draw the offensive foul like nobody else on the team. Camby’s ability to block shots will make up for that.)
This will be a homecoming for Camby as he was a key member of the Knicks from 1998 until 2002. He was a fan favorite and helped the Knicks reach the playoffs three times including the NBA Finals in 1999. During the 99 playoffs, Camby played 20 games and averaged 10.4 points, 7.7 boards and 1.9 blocks. His athletic play at the center position was necessary as Patrick Ewing was injured for much of the playoffs.
If Camby can come anything close to the 9.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game that he averaged for the Rockets last season, in 24.1 MPG, then he will be an asset that will help keep Tyson Chandler fresh, in addition to being able to take advantage of back-up centers on other teams.
There is no getting around the fact that Camby and Kidd are 38 and 39, respectively, which means the Knicks obviously are not getting any younger, but the Knicks are in win now mode. These are two additions that had to be made to complement the core of Jeremy Lin, Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler.
These additions also will put the team over the luxury tax for the foreseeable future, but that does not matter to James Dolan. New GM Glen Grunwald has made all the right moves to give the team a chance to go far in the playoffs and compete with the Miami Heat.