Thursday, July 5, 2012
Knicks Lose Steve Nash to Lakers. Is Raymond Felton Next Target?
Despite talks heating up yesterday between the Knicks and the Suns regarding a sign & trade deal for two-time M.V.P. Steve Nash, New York hesitated to include Iman Shumpert in the deal. Though towards the end of the day, the Knicks had reportedly relented and were willing to sacrifice a piece of their future to win now, it was too late.
Along with the Knicks' initial hesitation came a decision from Nash to instead join Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. Citing the need to stay close to his children, the guard's agent told the New York Post Nash had spurned the Knicks for the Western Conference contender.
Nash, who is likely to do wonders for the likes of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, instantly makes the Lakers a relevant championship contender again in a conference that keeps getting stronger.
With Nash no longer an option, the Knicks will now have to focus on the more realistic secondary options available. Jeremy Lin was in Houston celebrating Independence Day as he met with the Rockets, who offered him a four year, backloaded contract worth an estimated $30 million. Should he sign it, the Knicks will be faced with the decision of whether or not to match it. With their point guard options dwindling, there are strong indications the Knicks will keep "Linsanity" in New York at any cost. By doing so, however, the team will likely have to pay the luxury tax in the latter years of Lin's contract offer from Houston.
Even with Lin, the Knicks are focused on bringing in a second quality point guard to New York as well. It needs to be someone who can not only make an impact off the bench, but also be able to stay motivated while spelling and playing alongside Lin.
Former Knicks guard Raymond Felton appears to be a prime candidate for the role. Though Felton started 56 out of 60 games played for the Blazers last season (averaging 11.4 points, 6.5 assists, and 1.3 steals per game), he happened to average nearly identical numbers during a 21 game stint the season prior with the Nuggets (after being shipped to Denver in the Carmelo Anthony trade), in which he came off the bench every game.
Like Nash, Felton's displayed some phenomenal chemistry with Amar'e Stoudemire during his short first stint with the Knicks, so he too stands to do wonders with the likes of STAT and Tyson Chandler in the pick and roll.
Not only do both Lin and Felton know how to effectively get their teammates involved in the offense, they can also create for themselves in a varied amount of ways. Lin's penetration and Felton's sweet shooting stroke would complement each other well, making them a strong floor general duo to lead the team together. The minutes to go around at the position are certainly there, and given Lin's incredibly small sample size following "Linsanity's" outbreak, quality insurance at the position certainly wouldn't hurt.