New York's two open roster spots -- freed up by the release of Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih -- didn't remain vacant for long. In an effort to bolster their playing rotation, the Knicks have signed free agents Earl Clark and Shannon Brown to 10-day contracts, the club announced Thursday.
Clark comes to the Knicks by way of the 76ers, if only technically. Philadelphia had no interest in Clark when it acquired him at the trade deadline, but needed his salary in order to complete a trade with Cleveland involving the pricier Spencer Hawes. His tenure as a Sixer lasted a single day, giving Clark the opportunity to gauge the market as he cleared waivers. After considering his options, New York -- through disarray and all -- appears to be his choice.
It's a decent enough fit for Clark, as his defensive flexibility should lend itself well to the Knicks' switch-heavy scheme. Clark isn't a terribly skilled player; he doesn't have much to offer offensively save for cut-and-finish plays and outright hustle, though he's lanky and athletic enough to at least make a difference with his activity. He also has spent the last two seasons shooting threes at a clip just below the league average. That's not a particularly reliable scoring option for Clark, though it does allow him to space the floor more effectively than some of the other forward options on the market. In 45 games this season, Clark averaged 5.2 points and 2.8 rebounds in 15.5 minutes per game.
Brown arrives fresh off a cameo with the Spurs, where he helped sop up minutes for a San Antonio team hit hard by injuries. He played but 10.3 minutes a night in 10 appearances, during which he averaged 2.3 points (on 29-percent shooting) and 1.3 rebounds per game. Nothing in Brown's performance suggested that he would be a good fit for the Spurs over the long haul, and thus San Antonio cut him loose at the conclusion of his second 10-day contract. Brown apparently found his way to New York, though it remains to be seen whether he'll hold much value for the Knicks, either.
At his best, Brown is a kinetic player; he can push aggressively in transition, break the defense on a counter drive, or exploit a wandering defender with a baseline cut. But in a Knicks offense that doesn't much reward off-ball movement, it seems that Brown could be left to either spot up on the perimeter (which is far from his strong suit) or work off the dribble against a set defense. Perhaps there's room for Brown to settle in to some kind of niche, but upfront he seems an odd choice (and one lacking in defensive chops) for a team with the Knicks' particular needs.