After Mike D’Antoni convinced his wife to move to the Big Apple, signed his deal, and made some impossibly optimistic remarks at a press conference, everyone wanted to talk about which high profile free agent could come and star in his system. At the top of most New Yorkers’ wish lists? Monta Ellis.
Now, Monta is officially back in Golden State, and the Knicks are forced to deal with the reality of running the same basic roster on the floor. But with D’Antoni preaching the fast break, might the Knicks end up with a super-charged version of Jamal Crawford? He’s clearly the most gifted scorer on their roster, tallying 20.8 points last season. And he loves to fast break, especially when Kirk Hinrich is the last man back on D.
Plus, ‘Mal is in the year before a player option, meaning that he’ll be able to opt out after this season if he wants. He’s got $19 million coming his way from ’09-’11, but could consider testing the market if he has a monster year under the Knicks’ new coach.
Crawford is five years older than Ellis (who turns 23 in October), but you have to think he should be able to command a similar contract – similar, I said, not exact – if he puts up the kind of season this year that D’Antoni thinks he can in his system. D’Antoni has told me and others that he thinks Crawford can reach all-star status playing in his system.
Could Jamal Crawford be an all-star in New York next year?