Guard-less Knicks won’t call Iverson
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The Knicks desperately need guards. Allen Iverson desperately needs a job.
But The Post has learned Iverson is one CAA client the Knicks won’t pursue, deeming it too big a gamble. The mercurial 76ers great appeared in Philadelphia on Wednesday for his former team’s Game 6 against the Celtics and told a national TV audience: “I want to play basketball so bad.”
Knicks coach Mike Woodson was on Larry Brown’s Sixers staff for two seasons coaching Iverson, 36, who last played in Turkey in 2010-11.
Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald acknowledged on Friday’s conference call announcing Woodson’s new contract that the Knicks will seek to solidify the backcourt this offseason. Even if they re-sign point guard Jeremy Lin and shooting guard Landry Fields, which Grunwald says is the plan, the Knicks need help.
Rookie combo guard Iman Shumpert (torn ACL) may miss the season’s first two months and Baron Davis is out for next season. Toney Douglas is the only guard under contract.
“We have two guards who are restricted free agents, so we’ll be able to retain them,’’ Grunwald said of Lin and Fields. “The question is then how we fill out the rest because Baron suffered a pretty bad injury and he’s not going to be able to play next year. And Shump is going to be out a bit recovering from his injuries. We’re going to have to see if we can upgrade the rest of the roster while Shump is out.’’
The Knicks are waiting to see if shooting guard J.R. Smith, arrested Thursday in South Beach, will decline his $2.5 million option for next season. The Knicks could retain Smith anyway if he opts out by giving him a 20-percent raise that would not count against their $5 million mid-level exception, which is being reserved for Lin.
But free-agent sharpshooter Steve Novak probably is a goner unless the union wins its mid-June arbitration hearing to restore Novak’s — and Lin’s — Bird rights.
“J.R. has an option to come back to us next season,’’ Grunwald said. “We hope he will exercise it. Steve is a free agent. We want to have him back, too. But Stevie has the greatest freedom of any of the players as he is unrestricted.’’
The Knicks may have only the $2 million lower exception to lure another free-agent point guard with Raymond Felton, Derek Fisher and Gary Neal possible targets in that category.
Grunwald acknowledged the Knicks’ five-game first-round flameout to the Heat was a failure despite a parade of injuries.
“We wanted to do better than last year,’’ Grunwald said. “We got a test in the playoffs, and we didn’t quite pass the test. We lost to the Heat and it wasn’t as close as I would’ve liked.’’
Brown, a Woodson confidant now at SMU, said the Knicks could use another talented big man, too.
“Woody and I talked, I think they need another big guy to complement Amar’e [Stoudemire] and Tyson [Chandler] to give them depth,’’ Brown said.
Brown added he thought Stoudemire wasn’t right this season.
“He didn’t look healthy to me,’’ Brown said. “The last year and a half [I coached] in Charlotte he was phenomenal.’’* Grunwald said he never considered fining Stoudemire for the fire-extinguisher incident. “No one suffered more than he did,’’ Grunwald said. “He felt bad enough.” ... Former Knicks coach and president Isiah Thomas told ESPN Chicago he is looking for a college coaching or NBA GM/coaching job.