The Knicks Dance With the Ones That Brung 'Em

Kenyon Martin enters, Ronnie Brewer exits and not much changes

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    This is not the look of a man on steady ground.

    It's become something of a cliche to say that an entity is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic when they make changes that aren't likely to lead to significantly different outcomes. 

    One could break out the cliche for the Knicks after Thursday's trade deadline passed with a couple of roster moves. Trading Ronnie Brewer to the Thunder and signing Kenyon Martin makes the Knicks look different superficially, but it's hard to see what difference it can really make. 

    Brewer wasn't playing at all and wasn't likely to start playing again anytime soon even with the Knicks still struggling to find answers on defense. They wanted the roster spot for Martin and the second-round pick acquired from Oklahoma City is an asset of some value down the line, but losing Brewer changes nothing about the Knicks team that's been turning in horror show after horror show of late.

    Martin also doesn't profile as a difference maker. Maybe he can give you some help on the defensive interior, making him an insurance policy against the continued absence of Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace, but he's a 35-year-old who hasn't played at all this season. 

    His arrival does leave the Knicks in the unusual position of reuniting both the Nets of the early 00's and the Nuggets of the later part of the decade. Kerry Kittles and Renaldo Balkman should both keep their phones close by while Tim Thomas should probably consider any calls for a return to the Knicks fold to be "fugazy." 

    Kidding aside, the end result of Thursday is that the Knicks are casting their lot with the guys that were already on hand. They didn't have much choice in that approach since trading Iman Shumpert was the only possible move of consequence on the table, but G.M. Glen Grunwald said all that needs to be said on Thursday with his claim that the Knicks have the pieces to win a title. 

    Grunwald also said that he didn't think the team's suffered an unusual amount of injuries, a pair of comments that put a lot of pressure on Mike Woodson, he of the increasingly bewildered look on the sideline, to find a way back to the heights of the 19-6 start if he wants to continue as the team's coach. He's got plenty to do with a sputtering offense and a soft defense eating away at the team's Atlantic Division lead. 

    He needs a secondary scorer to Carmelo Anthony and he needs to find some way to reverse the growing feeling that Jason Kidd's slump is actually just who he is at this point in his career. Tyson Chandler needs help on defense and, more than anything else, the Knicks need a return of the pride, urgency and accountability they prized in the opening weeks. 

    If Woodson can't bring those things back, he's going to start hearing calls for his job from every corner of town. And that will ensure that the cliche about the Titanic winds up ringing true. 

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.