Most New York Knicks fans are focused on Carmelo Anthony and his deadline to opt-out of his contract. However, Phil Jackson has other decisions to make and they need to be made soon. Will the Knicks decide to keep Shannon Brown, Lamar Odom and Jeremy Tyler around for next season?
Everyone knows that the New York Knicks wont be big buyers this off-season. Their only chance of signing a big time talent this off-season is to re-sign Carmelo Anthony. Otherwise they will be restricted to the mid-level exception, veteran's minimum contracts and any options players may have in their deals.
Shannon Brown is one of those players the Knicks need to make a decision on. Brown will have his minimum-salary contract fully guaranteed if the Knicks don’t waive him by the end of the day on August 1.
The decision to either keep or pass on Brown is an interesting one. He's a player Phil Jackson knows very well and one who was a teammate of Derek Fisher as well. While he hasn't been the impact player he's been in the past with the Los Angeles Lakers or Phoenix Suns, Brown certainly knows the triangle offense and could help the Knicks transition to that system.
This decision is one of those that could go either way. It's doubtful anyone would complain if Brown was cut loose. However, being that he's a veteran's minimum player it would probably be smart for Jackson to keep him around. He doesn't cost much, knows the triangle offense and can provide instant offense off the bench. He's a good candidate to stay in a Knicks uniform.
Lamar Odom is another player the Knicks will need to make a decision on. His contract becomes fully guaranteed if he remains on the Knicks roster past September 10.
With Odom, it's not a matter of skill level. He has the experience, knowledge of the triangle offense and skill set to help the Knicks. However, he also has demons.
Jackson gave him this chance to revive his career and get himself clean. The Knicks signed him last season so they could monitor him during the off-season and make sure his focus was on saving his career and not off-court distractions.
This decision is simple. If he's done everything they've wanted all off-season, has himself in basketball shape and is clean he'll have a job and will be another one of those former Lakers helping Fisher introduce the triangle offense to New York. If he hasn't shown enough for his good friend and mentor to pick up his option he'll get exactly what he deserves and again find himself without a job. If that's the case, his NBA career will likely be over.
Tyler is a young player who shows a lot of promise. However, he was given his chance under old management and Jackson may not share the same vision for his future.
That being said, his team option is worth $948,163 for next season. In a cap-strapped off-season it would seem pretty foolish to dump a young promising player when you'd be paying him less than a million dollars and not be locked into any additional years past next season if he doesn't develop.
In the end, all three of these players could very well be on the Knicks roster next season but that's a decision only Jackson can make. If he does bring them all back it won't cost New York much. Brown would make $1,310,286 if he's brought back. Odom would make $1,448,490 if he's kept around. Tyler would make $948,163. That's three filled roster spots for only $3,706,939. Not bad for three players who would be on expiring contracts, who of which have triangle offense experience and one of which is a developing big man with a great skill set.
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