Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni has been in phone contact with free agents Jamal Crawford and Shawne Williams in an effort to improve his bench.
Asked what his pitch to Crawford was, given that the Knicks can only offer him the $2.5 million “room” exception, D’Antoni joked, “You do a lot of groveling and try to paint the best picture possible….You know it’s a business decision and that’s what they have to do.
“But make him feel comfortable that if they choose us, that there’s a role and what his role will be and how much we like him and like his game.”
After reportedly turning down a two-year, $10 million offer from the Indiana Pacers, Crawford is reportedly down to the Knicks, Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings.
“I know there will be 20-plus teams with cap space next summer, so signing a short deal, I can be part of that,” Crawford told The Oregonian. “It just gives me more options.”
A Seattle native, Crawford told The Oregonian that his parents want him to sign with Portland but he is also drawn to Knicks talented roster. He also said the Kings “can offer him the most money” and are not far from his home.
D’Antoni said he felt bad that the Knicks dealt Crawford and Zach Randolph in 2008 as part of their efforts to clear cap space, but conceded it has to be done.
“Oh, yeah, but we had a game plan that we had to execute,” he said.
As far as Williams, Amar’e Stoudemire said he would like to see his close friend re-sign with the Knicks to provide a strong a 3-pointer shooter off the bench.
Williams was supposed to make a decision by Wednesday and is considering the Mavericks, Heat and Lakers along with New York.
“Shawne made incredible strides last season, “Stoudemire said. “I think from hanging around us and learning how to play the game helped him a lot.
“His situation is tough right now. We definitely want him as a teammate. He’s been a phenomenal teammate for us, but we’re just not quite sure what’s going to happen with him.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.