3:30 pm Jun. 11, 2012
Ray Allen would be a lovely addition to the New York Knicks.
The Knicks, with the exception of Steve Novak, shot the ball terribly from three-point range last season. And Allen, the veteran sharpshooter who has spent the past five seasons in Boston, is one of the best from long range in N.B.A. history.
This past season, Allen shot 45 percent from three-point range. His career mark is an even 40 percent. Add in his roughly 90 percent from the free throw line, and Allen has been a hyper-efficient offensive player, which is precisely what a team needing lots of shots for Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire could use.
One can only hope that someone has explained to Allen just what New York's salary limitations are likely to be.
With Anthony, Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler all making near the league maximum, the Knicks have very little salary room to work with. If the current rules hold, the Knicks will have one salary cap exception worth around $5 million, already earmarked for Jeremy Lin, and another at around $2 million. The N.B.A. players' union is heading to arbitration, seeking a rule change that would allow the Knicks to retain the right to sign Lin and Steve Novak, both acquired via waivers, without using those exceptions, a right they'd have if they acquired Lin and Novak via trade or the draft. But the position is considered a long shot.
If that $2 million exception is used on Novak, Allen would need to sign with the Knicks for the league's veteran minimum of around $1.4 million, after making $11 million this past season. If Novak receives a better offer, Allen would still be limited to that $2 million slot, a steep cut regardless.
Should the union prevail, the Knicks could sign Lin, and still have that $5 million exception to offer to Allen.
Money aside, it would be a neat fit. Not only would Allen match perfectly with what the Knicks need for Anthony and Stoudemire, he'd also provide Jeremy Lin with an obvious outlet once he penetrates to the basket. If defenses gang up on Lin, Allen is open. If they do not, Lin is a terrific finisher. that's a two-man game above and beyond the scoring talents of Stoudemire and Anthony, or even the efficiency inside of Tyson Chandler. And once Iman Shumpert returns, Allen can play more limited minutes to keep him fresh for the playoffs, while giving the Knicks complementary skills to Shumpert's.
Such a move would be exactly the opposite of bringing in Steve Nash with that exception. Nash, like Allen, is an older, Hall of Fame talent. But if Lin returns, there's no place for Nash or, depending on how you feel about it, with Nash in the fold, there's no place for Lin.
Since Lin is coming back, it sure makes sense to build around what is already there. Imagine if the Knicks did it by getting Allen.