Richard "Rip" Hamilton will be the newest addition to the free agent market, as the Chicago Bulls are expected to waive him in an effort to clear cap space. The Bulls will save $4 million by waiving his $5 million salary for next season and paying him a $1 million buyout. Now without a home for next season, Hamilton could find himself with the New York Knicks.
The Knicks are seeking depth at both guard positions. Pablo Prigioni was just offered a two-year contract, but there's no telling whether or not he'll accept the multi-year pact. At 36-years-old, he could choose to play it year-by-year.
Hamilton would be a great addition to the Knicks for so many reasons—so many reasons that it would be hard for general manager Glen Grunwald not to offer Hamilton what he wants in an effort to get him on his team.
For one, Hamilton is still a solid player off the bench. He played 50 games for the Bulls last season (45 starts) and averaged 9.8 points in 21.8 minutes per game. While not spectacular, he performed well in the role he was asked to fill. The Knicks would not use him in the starting lineup, even though he gives them the versatility to do so.
Prigioni gives head coach Mike Woodson options, as he can play both guard positions. Hamilton is only a shooting guard, albeit a great one back in his day with the Detroit Pistons. Despite this lack of position versatility, Hamilton can do it all on the basketball court and would be a valuable addition to any team in the NBA.
Another selling point would be his ability to mentor Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway, Jr. Both players are young and filled with potential, and Hamilton could be exactly what they need to progress. Shumpert already has the defensive skills down pat, but Hamilton could help him to improve on his scoring ability and movement without the ball—perhaps the most famous aspect of Hamilton's game.
As for Hardaway, the rookie should be extremely impressionable in his first season in the league. Hamilton, an established veteran of 14 years and NBA champion (2004 Pistons), could give Hardaway tips as to how to succeed in the league. Hardaway would be wise to listen.
Carmelo Anthony would also benefit from Hamilton's presence. Anthony, despite his insistence on not dominating the ball next season, will be the team's main isolation threat and will utilize it on a majority of offensive possessions. When isolation fails, Anthony is forced to either throw up a tough shot or dish it out to one of his teammates—teammates who may not be open enough to hit a shot. Hamilton's movement without the ball in his hands could prove beneficial to the overall effectiveness of the offense.
Finally, Hamilton and Woodson have history from their days with the Pistons. The two won a title together in 2004. Hamilton was the leading scorer and Woodson was the defensive specialist of the coaching staff. For a player in the twilight of his career, having some familiarity and comfortability could be attractive.
The Knicks should try hard to acquire the services of Hamilton. He'll likely sign a one-year deal in the ballpark of $3 million, and Grunwald should be willing to give him that—even if it means using the $3.18 million mid-level exception.Tags: Basketball, Detroit Pistons, Mike Woodson, NBA, New York, New York Knicks, Pablo Prigioni
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