LAS VEGAS -- The Knicks are continuing to work on their roster, but the moves they've made thus far have some of their veterans excited about next season.
After reaching an agreement with Jason Kidd last week, the Knicks came to terms with J.R. Smith, Steve Novak and Marcus Camby on Monday. Although Kidd and Camby are graybeards, Tyson Chandler said the Knicks got better, not older.
"We got a nice roster right now," Chandler said at U.S. Olympic team practice Tuesday. "Obviously, if you can get better pieces, you want to do so because things are not getting any easier out there. Teams are loading up. Everybody is chasing. Everybody wants to win now. We've got to continue to grow. We got our core back. Adding little pieces here and there really helps, too."
The NBA moratorium on transactions ends Wednesday, so the Knicks can officially sign Kidd, Smith, Novak and forward James White and acquire Camby in a sign-and-trade with Houston.
Bringing back some of the players from last season was important to Chandler, and the Knicks are expected to add one more when they match Houston's four-year, $28.8-million offer to Jeremy Lin. But getting Kidd and Camby showed Chandler that the Knicks are serious about trying to win now.
"It says a lot about the organization and the team that a guy like Jason Kidd is willing to come and play, knowing that he only wants to win right now," Chandler said. "The same with Marcus Camby, he only wants to win.
"It says that the organization is going in the right direction. That's the reason why I came to New York. I wanted to see the organization go in the right direction and really contend every year, be title contenders every year."
The Knicks haven't necessarily closed the gap between themselves and Miami. The Heat landed two players on the Knicks' radar, Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis. But the Knicks are becoming better defensively and putting together a stronger bench.
Camby is a former Defensive Player of the Year. He finished 17th in blocks last year (1.44) and 15th in rebounding (9.0) despite playing only 22.9 minutes per game. Kidd remains a hard-nosed defender. The two of them are selfless players, too.
"I feel good about the strides we made this offseason," Carmelo Anthony said. "We really made a splash this offseason, getting some free-agent signings, some guys we needed to get back. Now it's just a matter of us putting it all together."
The Knicks still have moves to make. With Lin, they would have 10 players with guaranteed contracts.
They continue to see if they can use Dan Gadzuric, whose contract is non-guaranteed, in a sign-and-trade. The Knicks are looking at wing players and exploring whether they can get Dahntay Jones from Indiana in a trade, a league source said.
Getting Camby gives the Knicks some much-needed size and depth up front. They can play Camby and Chandler, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, together at times.
Chandler likes the idea of being on the floor with Camby during crunch time to clog the lanes and help the Knicks get stops. Chandler also said the way the Heat got to the basket against the Knicks won't happen as much anymore.
"We match up better with everybody having him," Chandler said. "One of the tough things last year was when I went out of the game, a lot of times we didn't have rim protection. Having Camby now, that shot-blocker down there, a guy who understands the game, a savvy veteran, he's really going to help us defensively."
I certainly hope Stoudemire takes that last paragraph to heart.
I friggin' BUM Tyson Chandler.......(so homo)