With nearly 2 months of basketball left, the Knicks nightmare is almost over. Carmelo Anthony is out for the season, Iman Shumpert, JR Smith and Amar’e Stoudemire have found themselves on new teams. The Knicks are 30+ games under 500. None of this was expected.
The Knicks are currently competing with the 76ers,Timberwolves and Lakers for the #1 pick in the NBA draft. An unusual sight indeed. The Knicks aren’t necessarily used to draft picks, but they are certainly accustomed to disappointing seasons as they’ll finish under 500. for the 2nd consecutive season.
In years past, the Knicks traded away draft picks and were in salary cap hell. Leaving the team with little talent to work with. However, the Knicks now have $34.2 million in guaranteed salaries for the 2015-16 season. With the salary cap projected to be above $66.3 million, the Knicks will have around 30 Million dollars in cap space and an almost guaranteed top 5 draft pick. Not a bad way to start the Knicks rebuild.
Recruiting free agents to New York is not an easy task but the Knicks have a All-Star in Carmelo Anthony, a great basketball mind behind them in Phil Jackson. They happen to play in Madison Square Garden as well, not a bad pitch to incoming free agents at all.
Here’s a list of 10 realistic players New York should look to target in free agency.
With Carmelo Anthony starting again at the Small Forward position, the Knicks could use a solid secondary scorer at the forward position. With Amar’e brought out and presently a Dallas Maverick, Harris could be his replacement. Harris has put up strong number following being exchanged to Orlando after spending his first 3 seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Knicks haven’t had good young talent in a while. In the event that the Knicks could get Harris,that would be a solid move.
Rumor: Tobias Harris “wants to win a championship with the Knicks’’ http://t.co/XqlcLvo2yJ
— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) January 24, 2015
With Amar’e and Chandler gone, the Knicks need some solid depth at the PF/C position. Marc Gasol has already ruled out signing with the Knicks via cbssports.com, the Knicks need a solid backup plan. Lopez is a perfect fit. A Defensive minded center, Lopez can offer some solid rim protection and toughness that Tyson Chandler provided in year’s past.
Kentucky freshman Karl Anthony-Towns is being heavily scouted by Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks’ front office. If the Knicks don’t end up taking Towns #1 or somehow fall in the draft lottery, targeting Robin Lopez seems like a good idea.
Former Piston and now former Buck, Knight has found himself on another team as he was acquired by the Phoenix Suns right before the trade deadline ended.
At 6’3 Knight is averaging a career high in FG%, 3 PT%, Steals and Assist. The Knicks haven’t had a good point guard in a while and Knight’s 3 point shooting would be useful in the triangle offense. However, Knight will be a restricted free agent and it is uncertain if he’ll leave the Suns.
Targeting a 23-year-old with nice upside isn’t a bad idea at all though. Knick fans should cross their fingers come summer.
Without a doubt my sleeper prospect, Monroe has quietly had a good season with the Pistons. Highly unlikely to re-sign with Detroit, the Knicks should make a HUGE push at Monroe. At 24, the big man from Georgetown is averaging 16 and 10 rebounds per game.
Underrated, Monroe is a very talented passer at 6’11. Good fit for the triangle, Greg Monroe could find his way into New York City in the off-season. He’s not perfect and his defense could use some work but even with some flaws his upside is amazing.
The New York native and sharp shooter, Green is a perfect fit in New York. 3 and D players are becoming a hot commodity in the NBA lately and the Knicks should look to bring Danny in.
The NBA champion knows his role and will offer a nice spark off the bench. Green’s playoff experience is also another great quality. Greg Popovich does a great job with his players and New York needs winners on their team.
A gritty undrafted PG out of the university of Alabama in his 3rd season as a pro, Beverly has been solid for the Rockets.
The free agent market for Point Guards in the 2015 season is not particularly deep. If they miss out on restricted free agent PGs such as Goran Dragic, Brandon Knight and Reggie Jackson, do not get surprised if you see Patrick Beverly in a Knicks uniform.
The Knicks are among the worst overall defenses in the NBA, bringing in a solid defensive guard like Beverly won’t hurt.
Yet again, another 3 and D guy having a breakout season makes the list. Carroll has been a consistent starter for the Hawks these past 2 seasons and has shown how valuable he really is with his good 3 point shooting.
He’s demonstrated that he isn’t too shabby on the defensive end either as LeBron James shot 1 for 7 for five points with four turnovers when the Cavs and Hawks met on March 6th. The Knicks need good perimeter defenders. Carroll fits the mold so expect the Knicks to target the 28-year-old free agent in the summer
A player the Knicks were interested in before, Asik will garner some interest in the off-season. The 28-year-old Turkish center has been on 3 different teams in 4 years and that number might go up to 4 this summer.
The Knicks have a blatant need for big men and Asik seems to be a viable option at the right price. He’s certainly not the Knicks first free agent target, but he’s no slouch either.
Severely underrated and talented big man, Millsap has been key the Hawks success this season. Making only 9.5 million dollars on the year, the former 2nd round pick will likely look to cash out during free agency. The Knicks do have the money to pursue him. The Hawks have the advantage with great squad already and money as well.
Anything is possible though. Millsap has a dependable offensive game and is a great rebounder. He could certainly help out a Knicks team in need of a solid secondary scoring option.
Another former 2nd round pick, Middleton has put together a great campaign in his 3rd season. With almost 20 games to go, Middleton averaging a career high in FG%, 3 Pt %, Rebounds, steals and points.
A great part of his game is he has the ability lead his team in scoring on any given night even though he’s not the #1 option on his team. His 3 point shooting has been tremendous this season and the Knicks could use both his scoring and shooting to take the scoring load off Carmelo Anthony.
With the new CBA coming up Middleton will get a huge deal from a team, he’s restricted so the Knicks will have to offer him a lot. Still, his potential is very high and New York should take a chance on this guy come July the 1st.