The Knicks desperately need guards. Allen Iverson desperately needs a job. Â But The Post has learned Iverson is one CAA client the Knicks wonâ€™t pursue, deeming it too big a gamble. Â Read more after the jump.
The mercurial 76ers great appeared in Philadelphia on Wednesday for his former teamâ€™s Game 6 against the Celtics and told a national TV audience: â€œI want to play basketball so bad.â€
Knicks coach Mike Woodson was on Larry Brownâ€™s Sixers staff for two seasons coaching Iverson, 36, who last played in Turkey in 2010-11.
Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald acknowledged on Fridayâ€™s conference call announcing Woodsonâ€™s new contract that the Knicks will seek to solidify the backcourt this offseason. Even if they re-sign point guard Jeremy Lin and shooting guard Landry Fields, which Grunwald says is the plan, the Knicks need help.
Rookie combo guard Iman Shumpert (torn ACL) may miss the seasonâ€™s first two months and Baron Davis is out for next season. Toney Douglas is the only guard under contract.
â€œWe have two guards who are restricted free agents, so weâ€™ll be able to retain them,â€™â€™ Grunwald said of Lin and Fields. â€œThe question is then how we fill out the rest because Baron suffered a pretty bad injury and heâ€™s not going to be able to play next year. And Shump is going to be out a bit recovering from his injuries. Weâ€™re going to have to see if we can upgrade the rest of the roster while Shump is out.â€™â€™
The Knicks are waiting to see if shooting guard J.R. Smith, arrested Thursday in South Beach, will decline his $2.5 million option for next season. The Knicks could retain Smith anyway if he opts out by giving him a 20-percent raise that would not count against their $5 million mid-level exception, which is being reserved for Lin.
But free-agent sharpshooter Steve Novak probably is a goner unless the union wins its mid-June arbitration hearing to restore Novakâ€™s â€” and Linâ€™s â€” Bird rights.
â€œJ.R. has an option to come back to us next season,â€™â€™ Grunwald said. â€œWe hope he will exercise it. Steve is a free agent. We want to have him back, too. But Stevie has the greatest freedom of any of the players as he is unrestricted.â€™â€™
The Knicks may have only the $2 million lower exception to lure another free-agent point guard with Raymond Felton, Derek Fisher and Gary Neal possible targets in that category.