Ronnie Brewer had exactly the attitude the Knicks were hoping to find out of one of the quality veteran players left in free agency.
"It didn't come down to money," Brewer told WFAN Radio in New York. "It's where you want to go and where you feel comfortable."
Brewer signed for the veteran's minimum, which is all the Knicks had left to offer after using up just about every tool they had to sign Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton and Marcus Camby. The 6-foot-7 Brewer fills an important need for a wing defender, which is especially important with All-Rookie Team guard Iman Shumpert expected to miss about half of the season while recovering from a knee injury.
Brewer's signing put the Knicks at 13 guaranteed contracts, two shy of the maximum allowed by the NBA. The team also has two players signed to non-guaranteed deals, including EuroBasket veteran Chris Copeland and J.R. Smith's younger brother, Chris. The latter appears to be a favor to the elder Smith, who re-signed for a bargain-basement price of $2.8 million. Chris Smith, an undersized shooting guard, is more of a D-League type player at this point in his career.
The Knicks appear to be done with their latest roster overhaul, though a few veterans remain on the radar for training camp. The last area of need would be depth at power forward, so unsigned free agents Lou Amundson, Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen have been rumored to have the Knicks' interest.
Amundson and Martin, however, are said to not be interested in taking a minimum salary, which would also include minimum minutes with Amar'e Stoudemire on the roster and Carmelo Anthony potentially sliding to power forward when Stoudemire goes to the bench.
Andersen, however, is open to the minimum and might be a little more desperate. The former Nugget, who has played with Anthony, Smith and Felton, has been embroiled in legal trouble in Denver and might have a hard time convincing a team to bring him in with the potential for a controversial court battle, which the tabloids would feed off of, in his wake.
The Knicks have dealt with enough off-court, tabloid-fueled controversy in the previous decade and just endured Kidd's DUI arrest shortly after he was signed. They might prefer to avoid inviting more trouble just for a 14th man. They also might prefer to maintain some flexibility with the roster and not max out at 15 guaranteed contracts before training camp begins.
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