Everyone knows Tracy McGrady is here, and he’s the headliner of the Knicks’ trade day yesterday, even if dropping Jared Jeffries was far more important than anyone the team brought in. But McGrady’s not the only new feller coming to town. Assuming everyone passes their physicals, the Knicks will have four other new players for tomorrow night’s game in Oklahoma City.
Realize that, by design, none (or maybe one, tops two) of these players will be on the Knicks next season. This is a cameo. This is something to do for the next couple of months, before LeBron Watch begins. Let’s meet them, shall we?
J.R. Giddens. One of the three players brought over for Nate Robinson, Giddens was a first-round pick of the Celtics in the 2008 draft, the year they won the championship. He was a bit of a headcase in college, being booted from Kansas by coach Bill Self after a stabbing incident and was suspended by his next school, New Mexico, for “being a bad teammate.” That hasn’t helped him in the pros. He has played only 27 games for the Celtics in two seasons, starting one game and scoring a grand total of 28 points. He’ll get plenty more playing time the rest of the season. The Knicks have an option on him for next season: If they want to keep him around, he’ll cost them $1,100,640. They will probably just let him go, though.
Eddie House. Considered a scoring machine coming out of Arizona State, E-House — a name we might have just made up for him — has bounced around the league for a decade now. (The Knicks are actually his ninth team.) He’s most famous for his time with the Celtics, though, mostly as a scorer off the bench during their playoff runs. Just last May, he scored 31 points in an Eastern Conference semifinal game against the Orlando Magic. His contract ends after this year, and this is almost certainly the only time you’ll ever see him in a Knicks uniform.
Sergio Rodriguez. The most important player to come in yesterday, probably including McGrady, Rodriguez is a promising young point guard who never quite fit in Sacramento during his one season there. (He played three seasons with Portland before that.) He’s a fast point guard who can shoot a little, a player Donnie Walsh has always been a fan of and, most important, he’s going to make it likely that you’re never going to have to watch Chris Duhon start for the Knicks again. He’s essentially getting a two-month tryout: He’s a restricted free agent, and the Knicks have the option of picking him up next year for $2,805,888. If it doesn’t work out, no harm, no foul.
Bill Walker. A high-school phenom with a history of knee injuries, Walker is most famous for an incident at Kansas State when he urinated in a towel before a last-second inbounds play. If the Knicks want to keep him around, he’ll cost them $854,389 next year … but we wouldn’t count on it.
Tomorrow night, against Oklahoma City … watch the new guys play, while you can.