Oh, you thought the Knicks were done wheelin’ and dealin’? You figured they would rest after making the Tyson Chandler sign-and-trade official?
One day after making acquiring Chandler from the defending champion Dallas Mavericks, New York kept stocking up on talent. With a hole at the point guard spot, the Knicks signed Mike Bibby to a one-year deal at the veterans’ minimum of $1.4 million Sunday. The 13-year guard will add a veteran presence to a team filled with young talent and the ability to knock down an open 3 with Carmelo Anthony running the offense. Adding size in the post will be forward/center Jared Jeffries, whose one-year pact was also finalized Sunday. And rounding out the transactions for the Knicks is 1st-round pick Iman Shumpert and 2nd-round pick Josh Harrellson signing their rookie contracts. The Knics roster currently stands at 11 players, two below the league minimum of 13. But with exactly two weeks before the start of the season, there’s plenty of time for interim GM Glen Grunwald to bring in more pieces (more on this later).
It sure doesn’t sound like Chauncey Billups is too pleased with the Knicks using their amnesty clause on him. Under this amnesty provision, the Knicks are allowed to waive one player (who’s contract was signed under the previous CBA) and have his contract not count against the salary cap and luxury tax. While one can argue that it makes more sense for the Knicks to save the amnesty for Amar’e Stoudemire in case there are problems with his knees, New York opted to waive Billups (plus trade Ronny Turiaf to Washington and Andy Rautins to Dallas) in order to sign Chandler. According to Yahoo! Sports, the 14-year veteran guard essentially threatened teams under the salary cap to not claim him on waivers. It was possible for the Knicks to buy-out Billups’ contract for $3.2 million before the lockout started and still go through with the Chandler signing without using the amnesty, but what’s done is done … and Chauncey Billups is no longer a Knick.
Even with the activity the Knicks have had over the last few days, there’s still more on the horizon. Newsday’s Alan Hahn writes that with the “room exception” (two years, $5 million) available, the Knicks have offers to forward Shawne Williams and guards J.J. Barea and former Knick Jamal Crawford. Nothing has been decided yet, but expect something to go down soon as training camp moves forward to the start of the season.