Following the use of the mini mid-level exception to sign big man Jason Smith, the New York Knicks only have minimum contracts at their disposal to make further roster additions through free agency. Both Derek Fisher and Phil Jackson will keep their eyes open for veterans who can fill specific roles and fit the triangle offense. Shawn Marion is one of those remaining free agents that could be signed for the veteran's minimum and really help the team off the bench.
Most fans are always looking for their team to get younger but the addition of a few select veterans is an important part of putting together an NBA roster. The New York Knicks shouldn't build any differently despite having their eyes on the 2015 free agency period.
Fortunately, there are still plenty of solid role players available. Many of those players will have to sign somewhere for a discount. That plays right into the Knicks hands. One of those players is forward Shawn Marion.
At 36 years old Marion is no longer the freakish athlete he once was. He's not the same defender or finisher he was in his prime either. However, he shouldn't be at this point in his career.
One improvement in his game though is that he's smarter, more mature and more poised. That might be why he's not worried about not being signed yet.
Shawn Marion says he's not thinking about free agency now, but is enjoying his 1st born -- a son who will be 3 months old on Thursday.— Dwain Price (@DwainPrice) July 15, 2014
Clearly he has his priorities in order. That being said, he's still widely regarded as one of the most versatile players in the league thanks to his athleticism and ability to play and defend many positions.
He, like Francisco Garcia, could really strengthen the Knicks roster and fit into the triangle offense very well. In fact, either of them could find a home here for the next few years.
But can the Knicks afford him? After all, he is coming off a five-year $39 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks. However, he's no longer the man known as "The Matrix". If he was, he'd be signed by now. That hasn't stopped some from wondering why he hasn't been inked yet.
A return to Dallas isn't out of the question but it's a bit doubtful at this point. Not only is their roster getting filled with similar-style players to Marion, they also only have the $2.73 million exception and veteran's minimum left to sign players. That exception is likely to be used on Mo Williams.
The fact is, Marion can probably still find a team willing to give him more than the minimum around the league but he doesn't really need it. During his 15-year NBA career, Marion's made $133.488 million. Signing him for the minimum shouldn't be a problem.
Last season, he appeared in and started 76 games for the Mavericks, averaging 10.4 points and 6.5 rebounds per contest. He shot the best he has from behind the three-point arc since the 2002-03 campaign, shooting 35.8 percent.
Marion is nearly tailor fit for the triangle offense. He's still a top-tier perimeter defender, he rebounds well for his position and can still knock down shots from three-point territory.
Marion is also an excellent passer and slasher who can finish at the rim. He also fits the mold as a versatile enough player that can pass well out of the high post passer as well as move without the ball as a back-cutter to the rim. Marion could become a great asset to first-time head coach Derek Fisher.
It certainly doesn't hurt that he'd be joining a team with several former teammates. Marion has played with Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington and Amare Stoudemire. New York could offer Marion a system and a roster he'd be very comfortable with.
At this point in his career, it would probably be ideal to latch on with a contender. Most would immediately think of the San Antonio Spurs or the Cleveland Cavaliers. He'd actually fit in very nicely on either team. However, perhaps he'd be willing to join the Knicks because of the system they run and the fact they have Carmelo Anthony and intend on contending by the 2015-16 season.
With only a couple years of NBA basketball left, Marion could ride off into the sunset playing comfortably in the triangle offense and building contacts for post-NBA opportunities that he could easily find in New York.
The Knicks might not be the ideal situation for him in their current state but they could represent the right situation for him. This is one of those times where a team and a player just seem right for each other. Now we'll have to wait and see if Jackson feels the same way or if another team is willing to offer Marion more than the minimum to lure him to their roster.
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Tags: Basketball, Carmelo Anthony, Dallas Mavericks, Derek Fisher, NBA, New York, New York Knicks, Phil Jackson, Shawn Marion
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