10:49 am Feb. 22, 2013
As Thursday's trade deadline came and went in the N.B.A., the two New York teams stood still, more or less.
For the Brooklyn Nets, it reportedly wasn't for a lack of trying. Yet their attempts to add Josh Smith from the Atlanta Hawks fell short. (To be fair, so did everyone else's attempts: the Hawks elected to keep Smith and take one more shot with him this spring.)
Maybe the Nets will have more luck this summer, if they attempt to deal Kris Humphries to create salary-cap space.
But while the Nets stood still because they didn't have much other choice, the Knicks appear to have done little because they're content, or close enough to it, with the team they have.
The deals they made weren't blockbusters. The biggest involved trading Ronnie Brewer, who has barely played over the past month, to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a future second-round pick, then using that open roster spot to sign Kenyon Martin, an veteran interior defensive presence who hasn't played this season.
The trading of Brewer is as much a bet on Iman Shumpert, the much-rumored wing player the team considered trading, as the decision not to trade Shumpert is. Essentially, the Knicks figure that even though Shumpert has yet to recover the defensive prowess that made him such a weapon against opposing guards last season, he will be the time the playoffs arrive. He is just 14 games into his season after missing eight months with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, and some recovery time is to be expected.
But if Shumpert doesn't recover, Brewer was the only one on the roster who served as any kind of insurance. Now, with Brewer gone, it is Shumpert or bust when the Knicks face, say, a team with LeBron James and Dwayne Wade.
Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald used the phrase "insurance" to describe Martin, however, and the implications for the Knicks are significant. Martin provides some coverage on interior defense when Tyson Chandler is out of the game, and moreover, gives coach Mike Woodson the chance to play Chandler somewhat less, should Martin prove effective.
The Knicks signed Martin to a 10-day contract, they have the right to sign him to a second such deal, at which point they'll need to decide whether to sign him for the rest of the season.
That means Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace, both of whom are more complete players than Martin at this point, have three weeks to prove themselves healthy enough to make Martin irrelevant. The Knicks are surely hoping at least one of them can. Both would be a luxury.
It certainly seems logical enough. Betting on the 22-year-old Shumpert to recover would be the safer bet than Camby, 39 in March and long injury-prone, or Wallace, 38 and retired for the past two years, making it healthy into May.
That doesn't mean they'll be right. But this roster has always depended on much going right. When it did in November, the Knicks were elite. In the months since, they've been well short of that.
Elsewhere in New York sports:
Bowing to logic, the Yankees have swapped Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson defensively. Gardner, the better defender, is in center, Granderson in left.
Manager Terry Collins is hoping his team will take more chances on the bases.
After a blood clot ened his 2012 season early, Dillon Gee is ready to resume pitching on Sunday.
Greg Prince imagines a chat between the Mets and the city of New York.
Georgetown will face Syracuse Saturday at the Carrier Dome for the final time in Big East play, and a record crowd will be on hand to watch.
Seton Hall has lost much of its team to injury, and coach Kevin Willard revealed another injury among those who are left: Haralds Karlis is playing with a groin hernia.