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News » New York Knicks Getting Inside 2009-08-21


New York Knicks Getting Inside 2009-08-21


New York Knicks Getting Inside 2009-08-21
Knicks fans are getting antsy as it gets deeper into the offseason.

The team has missed out on efforts to land Jason Kidd, Grant Hill and Andre Miller, and now a pursuit of restricted free agent Ramon Sessions appears to be in a precarious stalemate over money. Meanwhile, two of the team's most popular players, David Lee and Nate Robinson, remain unsigned restricted free agents.

The Sessions situation -- the Knicks are unquestionably high on the 23-year-old -- has smoldered for a few weeks. Donnie Walsh has acknowledged strong interest in the Milwaukee Bucks guard, but it is clear he is not interested in just handing over what Sessions' agent, Jim "Chubby" Wells is demanding: a full mid-level exception contract of five years and $33.9 million.

It is believed the Knicks are looking to offer around $4 million per season and Walsh, as always, has serious concerns about impacting the precious salary cap space he carved out for 2010. Another concern is staying above the high-water mark for the Bucks, who would likely match a reasonably cheap offer.

In the meantime, Walsh is considering all options to upgrade the backcourt, which doesn't show a great deal of confidence in Robinson, incumbent starter Chris Duhon and Larry Hughes (the latter two head into expiring years on their respective contracts).

The Knicks brought in Jamaal Tinsley, Jason Williams and Jerry Stackhouse for workouts. All three are likely longshots to get offers from the Knicks, who would be willing to give up only one year at the veteran's minimum for the above trio. But the fact that the Knicks are putting such emphasis into their thin backcourt suggests they believe that was their greatest area of need during last season's 32-win effort.

Robinson had a career year with 17.2 points per game, but while his boundless energy and dynamic ability to change the pace of the game can be a great weapon in coach Mike D'Antoni's system, he also proved himself to be a maddening disruption to the coaching staff.

Robinson is one of those players who carry the "less is more" label, which is fitting, considering his 5-9 stature. When he gets hot, he becomes very self-focused, and the entertainer inside him -- the one that helped him win two Slam Dunk titles and gain cult popularity around the NBA -- takes over.

His ebullient personality also doesn't go over well after losses, when he was often seen and heard cracking jokes and laughing minutes after some bitter defeats. Robinson is 25, so the maturity excuse is about to expire.

Lee previously voiced his frustration with the lack of progress in his contract situation, but Robinson, whose salary aspirations are far less than Lee's $10 million to $12 million asking price, has remained mostly quiet.

In fact, despite the team's interest in so many other guards to replace him, Robinson has been steadfast in his hopes to remain with the Knicks. A person close to him told Newsday that Robinson "made it clear to Donnie and the organization that he wants to be there, so he waits patiently while they sort through whatever they need to do."

The Knicks see a best-case scenario that includes signing Sessions to play in a backcourt with Duhon and rookie Toney Douglas. Robinson would then be moved in a sign-and-trade. But if the team is unable to sign Sessions, the fall-back option would be Robinson, who could be brought back on a one-year deal.

To protect the 2010 cap space, Robinson's Bird Rights would have to be renounced next June to avoid a cap hold.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: August 21, 2009

 

 
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