Ever since David Lee and Nate Robinson raised their games last year under Mike D’Antoni, there’s been some question as to whether the Knicks would be able to — or even want to — sign both restricted free agents this summer. The club’s exclusive negotiating window opens at midnight, and while both players can contribute, their salary demands might prove too high for a team whose primary goal is being well under the cap next season. Lee’s a double-double machine, but he’ll have plenty of suitors, and his necessity was called into question when the Knicks drafted Jordan Hill last week with the eighth pick. But it’s Robinson whose days could really be numbered, because the Knicks appear to be in the market for just about any other point guard they can find.
So far this off-season, Donnie Walsh has said that he’ll contact the Timberwolves about Ricky Rubio — one of two point guards the T-Wolves inexplicably drafted last week — who was considering returning to Europe should he not approve of his situation in the States. Of course, half the GMs in the league are making that phone call, too, and it’s unlikely they’d be able to pull the trade off anyway. Luckily for the Knicks, they’ve reportedly got another target: Jason Kidd, who they’d like to sign to a one-year contract so as not to affect their cap for the Summer of LeBron. (Well, for that reason and for the fact that he’s 36.) And though late first-round picks aren’t likely to have a big impact, they did also draft a point guard, Toney Douglas.
The bizarre thing is that all of these options represent conflicting plans going forward. Rubio would be expected to be the point guard for years to come, while Kidd would be a stopgap until 2010. And Robinson’s neither, really, because he’ll want a multiyear deal even though he probably wouldn’t be the full-time point guard, no matter how many times he high-fives Will Ferrell courtside. The other thing to consider, of course, is that last year’s point, Chris Duhon, hasn’t gone anywhere. The Knicks might prefer to move him into a backup role, but this isn’t a Jerome James situation. If he’s on the team, he’ll play. Just who he’ll be guarding in practice, though, remains to be seen.