The New York Knicks seem to have found the last piece to their roster for the upcoming season, agreeing to a one-year deal with free-agent point guard Beno Udrih.
He will sign for the veteran’s minimum $1.27 million and will back up starter Raymond Felton along with veteran guard Pablo Prigioni, who re-signed with the Knicks earlier in the summer. He will fill the third point guard spot left vacant by Jason Kidd, who retired and became the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets.
The southpaw from Slovenia played well for the Orlando Magic at the end of last season after he was acquired from the Milwaukee Bucks. He averaged 10.2 points and 6.1 assists in 27 games for the Magic. Overall in 66 games in Milwaukee and Orlando last season, the nine-year veteran averaged 8.2 points and 4.6 assists on 44 percent shooting.
Multiple teams showed interest in Udrih, most notably the Memphis Grizzlies and the Philadelphia 76ers. The Knicks had interest in other players such as Chris Duhon and Bobby Brown to add depth to their backcourt, but it was apparent that Udrih was their main target, as they were waiting on him before pursuing anyone else.
The Knicks had limited options in free agency this summer because of their unforgiving salary-cap position, but they managed to add a number of nice pieces and re-sign key players from last year’s team that finished second in the Eastern Conference. Defensive stalwart Metta World Peace and Udrih came along via free agency. Earlier this week, they signed big man Jeremy Tyler to a partially guaranteed contract to spell former Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler. The Knicks also re-signed reigning Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin (the savior of last year’s team according to multiple players), and Prigioni. They also traded for former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani.
They might not have made the sexy moves their crosstown rival Nets made, but the Knicks have done a good job building their roster with people who can fill a myriad of different roles and as a result give the team lots of options of what to do with the lineup. In this case, Udrih is a crafty guard who can provide another scoring option off the bench with his ability to get to the rim and shoot from beyond the arc. His signing nicely rounds out the Knicks roster and should mark the end of what has been an active offseason for the Knicks.