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.
Knicks Getting Older, Much Older, in Effort to Win Now
This much is clear from the Knicks’ recent moves.
They are going for it.
And they are getting older, much older, in an effort to do so.
On Monday the Knicks reportedly acquired 38-year-old backup center Marcus Camby from the Houston Rockets for a plethora of assets.
And that move followed the acquisition of 39-year-old point guard Jason Kidd from the Dallas Mavericks.
Both will reportedly sign three-year deals once the moratorium ends July 11 and both could turn 40 — 40! — in Knicks uniforms.
Kidd will be 40 in March, and Camby turns 40 in March 2014.
“They feel like they got a window right now and they’re going for it,” agent Mark Bartelstein told SNY.tv of the Knicks.
“These are guys that played at a really high level last year. Age is overstated sometimes. Age becomes an issue when you see diminishing performance. Kidd played at a high level, Camby played at high level. They feel like they have a window now and they’re going for it.”
“NY,” Tweeted Camby, who played four seasons with the Knicks from 1998-2002 and was the starting center on the 1999 NBA finalist team that lost to the San Antonio Spurs.
According to Yahoo! Sports, the Rockets will receive guard Toney Douglas, forward Josh Harrellson, center Jerome Jordan, second-round picks in 2014 and ’15 and cash used to pay Douglas’ salary from the Knicks. Camby will get a three-year, $13.2 million contract that contains a partial guarantee in the third season.
All told across various deals, the Knicks have now surrendered their 2013 second-round draft pick, their 2014 first- and second-round picks, their 2015 second-round pick and their 2016 second-round pick.
Ironically, the Knicks issued their 15-man summer league roster on Monday and 20 percent of the team — Douglas, Harrellson and Jordan — was dealt in the trade.
In separate deals reported Monday, the Knicks will re-sign sharp-shooting small forward Steve Novak for four years at $15 million and will bring back 26-year-old shooting guard J.R. Smith for $2.8 million in the first season with a player option for the second. Smith could be the team’s starting shooting guard if the Knicks don’t match the Toronto Raptors’ $19-million offer sheet for Landry Fields.
Novak, who is repped by Bartelstein, turns 30 in June.
The core of the team is not getting any younger, either.
Tyson Chandler, the center on the U.S. Olympic team, turns 30 in October, as does newly acquired forward James White.Amar’e Stoudemire, who has had a rough few months between the death of his brother, his battle with the glass-encased fire entinguisher in Miami and his recent homophobic Twitter slur that cost him $50,000, turns 30 in November.
Carmelo Anthony, also on the Olympic roster, is 28.
The Knicks still have second-year guard Iman Shumpert, who is recovering from ACL surgery and likely won’t return until December or January, and Knicks fans can thank their lucky stars that “Shump” wasn’t dealt for Steve Nash, 38.
So by November of next season, the Knicks will have five key players over 30 in Kidd (39), Camby (38), Chandler (30), White (30), Stoudemire (30) and another — Novak — who turns 30 in June, with 28-year-old Anthony also in the mix.
They hope to have Jeremy Lin, 23, re-signed after he received a four-year, $29 million offer from the Rockets, who are acquiring assets in order to attempt to be a player in the Dwight Howard Sweepstakes.
And Shumpert is just 22.
Still, it’s clear the Knicks know their window for challenging for an NBA title is over the next three years and they are going for it now.
But now not only will they have to battle the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference, but the rising Brooklyn Nets as well.
According to Yahoo!, the Nets and Orlando Magic are involved in a potential blockbuster four-team trade that would include more than 10 players.
Brooklyn could potentially field a team next year that includes Howard (26), Deron Williams (28), Joe Johnson (31) and Gerald Wallace (29).
The Nets are moving into a new arena in Brooklyn and have the potential to capture the hearts and minds of many New York basketball fans with a young, high-flying, exciting roster.
The Knicks, meantime, are going for it now with an older, veteran roster whose window is two or three years at best.
The way they are constructed, the Knicks need to win now.
Before their window closes, and they cede the New York spotlight to their Brooklyn rivals.
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.