The NBA trade deadline has come and gone, but the New York Knicks aren’t done shaking up their roster. The club failed to make a deal by Feb.20, but they’ve already gotten rid of two players since then.
New York was unable to find a taker for Beno Udrih, who had requested a trade, and negotiated a buyout with the point guard. The organization also bought out Metta World Peace’s contract. The forward had played in just 29 games this season.
With two empty roster spots, the Knicks are looking to add a few free agents to the team. Several NBA players were recently released to make room for traded players, and others are expected to be bought out of their contracts soon.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Knicks are focusing on defense, as they look to fill their open roster spots. In the middle of a disappointing season, New York has struggled mightily in trying to stop their opponents. The Knicks rank 27th in the league, allowing 106.4 points per 100 possessions. Carmelo Anthony is second in the NBA in scoring, but it hasn’t stopped the team from going 15 games under .500.
The most likely free agent signee might be Earl Clark. Wojnarowski reports that the Knicks are trying to land the forward before the team plays the Miami Heat on Thursday. Clark played in 45 games with the Cleveland Cavaliers, prior to being traded with Henry Sims and two second-round draft picks to the Philadelphia 76ers, for Spencer Hawes. He was released the next day and has cleared waivers.
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Clark has bounced around the NBA since being drafted in 2009, and has been known for his defense more than his scoring ability. This year, he’s averaging 5.2 points per game. Last season, he set career highs with the Los Angeles Lakers, putting up 7.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists per contest.
The other defender the Knicks have taken a close look at is Dahntay Jones. ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that New York brought the shooting guard in for a workout on Tuesday. Jones hasn’t played in the league this season, and was waived by the Chicago Bulls in October. He played for six teams over the course of a decade, experiencing the majority of his success with the Indiana Pacers.
If the Knicks don’t sign both Clark and Jones, that would leave open the possibility of bringing in Jimmer Fredette. Wojnarowski reports the Knicks “haven’t ruled out” signing Fredette, though they are concentrating on defense. The Knicks have been looking to improve at point guard because of Raymond Felton’s poor play. Following the buyout of Udrih and Felton’s recent arrest on weapons charges, Fredette would be a good fit for the Knicks.
New York didn’t make any trades at the deadline, even though they reportedly tried to acquire Kyle Lowry and Rajon Rondo. They are six games out of the postseason with 25 left to play.