The New York Knicks definitely got older. The question is, did they get better?
Intent on getting the most out of their high-priced stars, Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire, while the two are still in their respective primes, the team was aggressive in free agency by signing 39-year-old point guard Jason Kidd with their taxpayer's mid-level exception and acquiring 38-year-old center Marcus Camby via sign-and-trade.
Kidd addresses a critical need at the point guard position, which he will share with the team's young sensation, Jeremy Lin. Initially, the Knicks made a very determined effort to land former two-time MVP Steve Nash via sign-and-trade, but Nash opted to go to the Los Angeles Lakers so he could live closer to his children in Phoenix.
Still, the addition of Kidd, even at this advanced age and stage of his career, is an upgrade over last season, when Lin was flanked by hobbled veterans Baron Davis and Mike Bibby. Kidd will be expected to back up Lin and also serve as a valued mentor. Lin, a restricted free agent, was expected to sign a four-year, $28 million offer sheet from the Houston Rockets, but the Knicks vowed to match.
Camby's role is easy: he provides depth at the center position, where Tyson Chandler -- last year's free agency prize -- earned NBA Defensive Player of the Year honors. It is Camby's second go-around in New York and, coincidentally, he was the backup center the last time the Knicks won a playoff series 12 years ago. Camby can give the Knicks important minutes behind Chandler, who often played in foul trouble last season and had to tone down his aggressiveness because of the Knicks' lack of depth and size in the frontcourt. Camby also gives them another strong rebounder, which was an area of need.
Along with the new additions, which also included former D-League and European standout James White, the Knicks brought back two very important role players in J.R. Smith and Steve Novak. The Knicks believe they have solid depth at every position, though shooting guard could be an issue with Iman Shumpert not expected back until at least mid-season following major knee injury. The team was not expected to match an offer sheet Fields had agreed to sign with the Toronto Raptors.
The team still had several veterans on the radar to fill out the roster and also have the ability to acquire a player in a sign-and-trade for as much as $1.9 million -- the value of a Bi-Annual Exception -- if they use Dan Gadzuric's non-guaranteed contract.