The New York Knicks are apparently sniffing around the NBA trade market for a point guard who fits coach Mike D'Antoni's offense better than current options Chauncey Billups and Toney Douglas. Reports over the past past couple of days have the Knicks sniffing around Phoenix's Steve Nash, the former MVP who had many of his best years while D'Antoni was coaching the Suns, and Minnesota youngster Jonny Flynn, the former Syracuse star.
The Nash rumors surfaced in what basically amounted to a throw-away line added to the bottom of a report by New York Post Knicks beat writer Marc Berman. Berman intimated that the Knicks have inquired and would offer Billups, their own aging punt guard, but that trading the 37-year-old Nash does not seem to make sense for the Suns.
This might be especially true of sending Nash to New York, which is already sort of Phoenix East with D'Antoni and star forward Amare Stoudemire.
Nash is 37 and beyond his MVP years, but he is still a double-double machine, having averaged 14.7 points and 11.4 assists per game in 2010-2011. Nash has averaged double-digit assists six of his seven seasons in Phoenix and as a pick-and-roll, push the pace and distribute the ball player is much more suited to run a D'Antoni offense than Billups, more of a half-court shoot first point guard like Billups.
The Minnesota rumor of a Flynn to the Knicks in exchange for current New York backup point guard Toney Douglas might not be as sexy, but it is likely more realistic.
The Timberwolves will have Ricky Rubio in 2011-2012, the star Spanish point guard, meaning Flynn's role with the T-Wolves would be in doubt. The 22-year-old Flynn started 81 games for Minnesota as a rookie in 2009-2010, averaging 13.5 points and 4.4 assists. In 2010-2011 his role was reduced as he started just eight of the 53 games in which he played, averaging 5.3 points and 3.4 assists.
Flynn was the sixth overall pick in the 2009 draft, and while he is coming off hip surgery might be looked at as a player with more upside than Douglas, 25, who has averaged 9.8 points and 2.6 assists in two seasons with the Knicks and is not a true point guard.
CBS Sports reported that one stumbling block in the Knicks bringing in the former Syracuse University star is that Flynn is scheduled to make $3.4 million next season, a large sum for a backup point guard.
No matter what happens it seems there is little doubt the Knicks are at least kicking the tires on ways to find a better distributor at the point guard position.