When the upcoming free agency period begins July 1, critics will rightfully point out Amar’e Stoudemire’s massive, uninsured contract as the reason why the New York Knicks will fail to make significant upgrades to their roster. The $19.9 million he earned this past season represented 25 percent of the total salary number for Knicks players. It jumps up to $21.6 million next year, making it about as movable as a gravestone for a player whose game and knees have seen better days.
Yet, as long as critics are pointing the finger, they should look at the significantly smaller contracts paid to role players Marcus Camby and Steve Novak. While not as substantial, the Knicks got near minimal returns on both, particularly during the playoffs. Those deals will further hamper the Knicks as they look to improve this offseason.
This past season, 39-year-old center Camby and 30-year-old small forward Novak, raked in $8.6 million combined, with the former appearing in just 24 games during the regular season and the latter experiencing drops in both scoring and three-point shooting from the previous year.
Both were non-entities during the Knicks’ 12-game postseason run, with Novak appearing in nine games and averaging less than two points per contest.
Camby was worse. Hampered by injuries all year, he appeared in only three playoff games, playing one minute per contest and averaging less than a point during each outing.
If you are reading this and your sympathies lie with the Knicks, this fact won’t make you feel any better. Camby and Novak made significantly more money than Chicago Bulls point guard Nate Robinson, who made just $1.15 million this year despite averaging 16 points a game this postseason and transforming into a playoff revelation.
They also made a heap of a lot more than Denver Nuggets Power Forward Kenneth Faried, who got $1.4 million this year despite averaging nearly 11 points and nine boards in the regular season and playoffs.
And yes, both men made more money than the Golden State Warriors’ Splash Brothers. You know them as budding stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, though, it’s worth noting that Curry will see a significant raise in the new season.
And like people who experience chronic knee pain and persistent foot odor, those two contracts will remain with New York for awhile. Barring sudden retirement, Camby is inked through the 2014-15 season, and Novak’s deal ends after the 2015-16 season.
What’s more, the Knicks are above the projected salary threshold and are eligible to pay luxury taxes. When teams like the Knicks are deemed luxury tax payers, they are prohibited from participating in sign-and-trade deals, per the rules of the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
So, if fans had visions of seeing perennial All-Star Chris Paul donning the blue and orange via a sign-and-trade agreement with the Los Angeles Clippers, blame Stoudemire’s 5-year, $100 million deal when it doesn’t happen.
Yet, fans may be more compelled to blame Knicks Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations Glen Grunwald, who signed off on all of those contracts, including the pacts for Camby and Novak.
Both players had a lot in common with a cartoon character named Casper this post season – they were practically ghosts.
Investors might refer to those as unhappy returns.
Tacuma R. Roeback is a New York Knicks writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TacumaRoe, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+