Though the invite is far from a roster spot, in fact its actually not uncommon for former players to be spotted in pre-training camp workouts, it still is a bit ironic. Just a week or so ago I wrote how JR Smith is at a crossroads where he can become the next Ricky Davis, or Chris Webber depending on where he wants to take his career (and even more ironic is a brilliant article posted today by Grantland’s Zach Lowe that makes the case for Webber’s Hall of Fame induction). At first I thought this might have been a clever wake up call for JR Smith ordered from high above, but then I realized bringing in aging stars is sort of the Knick way. Of course last year Rasheed’s invite quickly manifested into one the most entertaining Knick signings in over a decade, but this new tradition of bringing in expired names is quite entertaining. It’s sort of like the glee we get during the Royal Rumble when suddenly a forgotten WWE jobber tumbles down the aisle to their certain but hysterical doom.
This got me wondering which other oddballs the Knicks should invite to camp to keep this meme going. There are still a number of needs the Knicks have to fill and there is no shortage of interesting names I’d love to see get invited to camp. Here are my some wildcard candidates that would probably show up at camp if invited:
Last Seen: On the Ricki Lake show talking about squandering $108 Million (I didn’t know Ricki Lake had a show either), and before that being waived by a Puerto Rican Basketball team.
Why? The Knicks broke the record for 3-pointers last season. Can you imagine what it must have been like for Antoine to watch the Knicks play last season from afar? I’m sure he’d fit into this offense like a glove, but Bargs already has the 3-point camping role on lock I’m afraid.
Last Seen: Actually has anyone seen Sprewell? It’s not a good sign when even the internet has a hard time tracking someone down. The last we heard from him is when federal marshals repossessed his yacht and his home was foreclosed.
Why? He once famously said that $21 Million wasn’t enough to feed his kids, but maybe a vet minimum contract is enough to help him pay back the IRS. When he last played for Minnesota in 2005 he still looked pretty good at 12 plus points a game. It’s nearly a decade later but who are we kidding? Knick fans would kill to see Sprewell in a Knick jersey again.
Why? He might be a knucklehead but there’s no denying the impact he has on the floor. Oddly there hasn’t been much talk of teams being interested in Captain Jack’s services but perhaps it’s a matter of his agent looking for the right contract. Jackson is like a scary more out of control version of JR Smith, but like Sheed and Sprewell, he’s got the kind of game and personality that New Yorkers always become seduced by. Jackson’s career can’t be over already right?
Last seen: On the Heat being cheered by Cavs fans while Lebron was jeered unmercifully in Cleveland.
Why? Sure he says he’s retired, but so did a lot of other players we have seen as of late. The Knicks desperately need a back up center and Z is the kind of guy the Knicks should aim to find. I can’t think of any real reason he would be interested in coming to camp, but wouldn’t it be fun to see him outplay Amare in practice?
Keith Van Horn
Last seen: Probably being woken up in the middle of the night by the Mavericks to let him know he was technically still under contract and has been traded to the Nets.
Why? Van Horn has unfinished business here in New York. To be honest, I never understood why he was traded for Tim Thomas in the first place. It’s an easily forgotten trade but one that still drives me crazy to this day. We know that jump shooting doesn’t go away. What we don’t know if he would still pick up the phone if we called.
Last seen: Palling around with Spike Lee, and broadcasting games all over television.
Why? It so obvious every time Reggie broadcast a game with Ray Allen that it kills him knowing his precious 3-point record is gone. Reggie back in the NBA to take back his record would easily be much more entertaining than that horrible Bernie Mac movie of the same mold, and also be the most entertaining plot of the season. Here’s the thing though, being as familiar with Reggie’s game as any Knick fan should be, he’d probably actually give Ray a run for his money and might even take back his record. As a Knick fan, its just a rule that you can never rule Reggie out.
Last seen: as a reaction gif used all over the internet.
Why? Well we do still need a back-up big man. Think about it Zo. Look how hard of a time Ewing is having finding a head coaching gig. Do you think Riley is going to really look out for you much longer. Why don’t we let bygones be bygones and come to camp to show these young bloods what defense is all about: