We won't begin to know how well Thursday's Knicks trades work out until this season comes to a close and the free agency marketplace opens for business. You certainly know the stakes by now so we won't repeat them for the gazillionth time. Instead we'll use this space to remember that the Knicks actually have 29 games left to play this season and take a look at the new faces that will be playing a role in them.
Tracy McGrady: The most famous of the new Knicks, although you need to adjust your memory of him from the guy who once scored 13 points in 35 seconds against the Spurs. He's not that guy anymore and no one really knows what kind of gas he's got in the tank after playing 41 games in the last two seasons, including just 46 minutes this season. These games represent a chance for him to add another chapter onto his career, a chapter that almost certainly won't be in New York.
While those explosive scoring days seem like a distant memory, he's always been a good passer and it will be interesting to see if Mike D'Antoni's offense starts looking a little more fast-paced with McGrady calling some of the shots. He's also a pretty interesting cat, as this excerpt from Free Darko's Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac attests, which is certainly a nice change of pace from Larry Hughes.
Sergio Rodriguez: The Spanish point guard's arrival could wind up making Knicks games a lot more entertaining for the rest of the season. He didn't get the nickname "Spanish Chocolate" because he's a boring player and the Knicks have been sorely missing a creative point guard since D'Antoni came to town. It seems rash to think that Chris Duhon will stop being the coach's pet overnight, but the thought of Rodriguez breaking down defenses and kicking the ball out for open threes is a pretty tantalizing prospect. As is the hope that the cap for 2010-11 comes in a bit higher than expected and Rodriguez winds up answering a need on the cheap.
Brian Cardinal: Acquired from the Timberwolves for the lightly used Darko Milicic, Cardinal may be cut without ever offering the Knicks anything other than some short-term savings. That's too bad, because a man with a hair line like Cardinal's deserves to be a cult hero to follicly challlenged Knicks fans.
Eddie House: Part of the booty from the Celtics for Nate Robinson, House's role is the easiest to figure out of all the newcomers. He'll come off the bench, fling threes until his rotator cuffs are too sore to move and then come back and do it the next night. That always fits D'Antoni's system and House has a leg up on the other newbies because he did some time in Phoenix. Otherwise, the best advice we can give you is to keep your hands off his wife, because that doesn't end well for anyone.
Bill Walker: Walker was once a highly touted college prospect, but injuries dropped him into the nether regions of the draft and have slowed his development. He's worth a look, if only because the Knicks will need minimum salary players to fill out their roster if the plan succeeds this summer.
J.R. Giddens: Also from the Celtics, Giddens had knee surgery earlier this month and probably doesn't figure into the team's plans. We won't claim to knowing the first thing about his game, other than to say that it seems odd that the Knicks couldn't have gotten more for Nate than the three players they got from Boston. D'Antoni only has himself to blame for that, and Nate could wind up really making something for himself with a huge scoring binge in a key playoff game. He could also throw one away, but when you sign up for Nate that's part of the risk.
LeBron James: What, too soon?