When news broke that Marcus Camby would be signing a three-year, $13 million contract to return for a second stint in New York, the reaction was noticeably divided. While many agree that Camby will be a welcome addition to the roster, some felt that the Knicks front office had lived up to their reputation of jumping the gun and overpaid for the 16-year veteran.
To complete the deal the Knicks agreed to a sign-and-trade sending Toney Douglas, Josh Harrelson, and Jerome Jordan to Houston along with their second round picks in 2014 and 2015. Now while at a glance this may seem like a steep price for a 38-year old center, look at the bigger picture.
In the past five seasons, Camby has been no lower than fourth in total rebounding rate. New York ranked eighteenth in rebounds per game last year, and Tyson Chandler, as good as he is, has shown a tendency to pick up fouls in bunches. With Chandler on the bench, Camby easily addresses the lack of a rebounding and defensive presence inside. Another way he contributes is his ability to space the floor. While Chandler is not known for his offensive prowess, Camby, a career .467% shooter, has the ability to hit the occasional 16-footer and keep the defense on its toes. Couple this with the fact that the three players New York gave up in the trade were not consistent parts of last season's rotation and the deal becomes much easier to stomach.
Since his arrival, Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald has shown the ability to realize his team's weaknesses, and quickly take the necessary steps to fix them with less than ideal assets at his disposal. Grunwald displayed foresight by refusing to take the high risk of packaging the valuable rookie Iman Shumpert in a proposed sign and trade deal for Steve Nash, and although he ended up losing out on the 38-year old Hall of Famer, he surprised everyone by wrestling Jason Kidd away from the Dallas Mavericks to back up and help shepherd the young Jeremy Lin. Grunwald also deserves credit for bringing back mercurial guard, J.R. Smith, on a bargain two-year deal that will pay him $2.8 million the first year, with a player option for a second.
The Knicks, a franchise long known for its propensity of signing players off of name alone, and making terrible decisions that seemed to be more flash than substance that set them back for years, we are beginning to see a turnaround under the watch of Grunwald. Although the Knicks haven't made the trademark free agency splash that they have become known for over the past few years, they are definitely improving, and there is reason for this fan base to believe in its front office again.