No Crawford, Williams leaves NYK bench thin

When Shawne Williams took his talents to Newark, he left the Knicks' bench runway-model thin.

In the best-case scenario for the Knicks, they'd have both Williams and Jamal Crawford coming off the bench.

But those plans were blown up on Thursday, when Crawford decided to take a more lucrative offer from Portland and Williams signed with New Jersey.

That leaves the Knicks with Bill Walker, Jared Jeffries and Renaldo Balkman as reserve forwards. That's a scary proposition.

Even worse?

Walker, Mike Bibby and -- maybe -- Iman Shumpert are the only reserves on the current roster who can be counted on to knock down an outside shot.

"We’ve got 10-12 guys that I'm pretty confident in," Mike D'Antoni said on Thursday, choosing to ignore the Knicks' glaring lack of firepower off the bench.

Since Crawford and Williams decided to go elsewhere, the Knicks still have the $2.5 million exception and, of course, the veterans minimum to offer free agents.

So you can expect them to add a player to the roster prior to the Dec. 25 opener.

Baron Davis, the veteran guard amnestied by the Cavaliers, is a possibility.

The Knicks would have to sign Davis as a free agent after he clears waivers. As a team over the salary cap, they are not permitted to bid on him prior to that. So they'd only have a shot at Davis if all the teams under the salary cap pass on him.

Another mitigating factor is this: according to his agent, Davis is out 8-10 weeks with a herniated disk in his back.

"This guy's out for 8-10 weeks, man. He's not our concern at all," Amare Stoudemire said Thursday. "We can't do anything about his injury. Right now we can't afford to have any [setbacks]. We have a positive thing going. We feel great about our guys. Everybody's healthy, so we've just got to keep it going."

If the Knicks can't add another veteran (Michael Redd comes to mind), they will have to rely heavily on Walker and Shumpert, an athletic but unproven commodity, to provide scoring off the bench.

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