The upcoming NBA Free Agency is going to be a chaotic time for Knicks fans. Phil Jackson has approximately $27.5 million to attract a very deep free agent class. The tricky part is picking the right players to build around Melo, and convincing those players that it’s worth joining a team that has a $124 million superstar coming off knee surgery.
If you’re hoping for a blockbuster signing, then keep dreaming. Phil Jackson will hopefully focus on signing consistent two-way role players. Here is my list of free agents the Knicks should go for, and pass on:
It seems that the Knicks starting front line is going to consist of Melo, and Pordingus (Steve Brule reference). The Knicks desperately need an enforcer in the paint to do a lot of the dirty work. Who will that enforcer be?
Gasol can either take more money to play for the championship contending Memphis Grizzlies, or take less money to play for the New York Knicks. If you can convince me that Gasol is leaving Memphis to play for New York, then you can outsell Jordan Belfort.
With the Blazers’ lack of depth, and injury history, you can actually make a case that Aldridge might walk, even though he’d be leaving a massive paycheck on the table. If he’s leaving all that money, he’ll do it to join a better team. Many believe that the Rockets and Mavericks have a good shot at Aldridge, but I believe the Spurs are going to take a crack at signing him. Will Duncan pass the torch?
Monroe is arguably the most anticipated free agent that will be wearing orange and blue next season. The logic behind signing Monroe is that he is an offensively gifted post player who would be great for the triangle. The reason I think it would be a huge mistake signing Monroe is because we already have an offensively gifted post player who is a great fit for the triangle. Monroe will also command a max contract. I hope Phil Jackson passes on Monroe, and uses that money on multiple defensive pieces.
Draymond Green will command max money this offseason. There are fans that believe if a player has not made an all-star team, then he is not a max player. But if you’re in a contract year as the runner up Defensive Player of the Year, who can stretch the floor in a league that thrives off drive and kicks, then you are a max player. Warriors would be crazy not to retain him.
Lopez is one of the best scoring big men in the game, but he is also one of the worst rebounders, and overall bad defenders. If you happen to criticize Melo for being a poor defender and a one-dimensional player, you will not like Brook Lopez. Pass.
In the playoffs, Hack-A-Jordan has been overshadowing how valuable he truly is. Yes, he is one of the worst free throw shooters in the league, if not the worst, but this First Team All-Defense center is a force in the paint. Think of Tyson Chandler, but with a vertical of Nate Robinson. Jordan is not an offensive post presence by any means, but he is the most efficient scorer in the league, shooting the ball (or dunking the ball) at 71%. He would not be the savior for the Knicks’ defensive struggles, but he would solve a lot of problems. The Clippers are going to max him out though so why am I even writing this?
This Memphis backup may leave if someone offers him more money, which I wouldn’t rule out considering the shortage of paint protectors in the league.
Still young, tries to block everything in his vicinity and can cover the floor better than most centers in the league. Plus he’s going to be relatively cheap. Jackson should definitely pursue.
In my column about Kevin Love, I stated that he is a bona fide all-star. Love had a tough time in Cleveland because he’s at his peak efficiency when the offense is ran through him, and good luck achieving that feat when you have to share your touches with Lebron James and Kyrie Irving. Regardless of his all-star status, Love is a poor defender, and I feel he would be a horrible pairing with Melo.
Offensively I think the Knicks would be fine; Love is a good passer and a three-point champion, two very important factors for the triangle, but the Knicks need defenders in order to compete, plus Love’s salary would be too devastating to recover.
I’m still sour about the trade, I would love to have him back, but I don’t see that happening.
Poor man’s Tyson Chandler, but still worth a try because he could go for cheap.
Poor man’s Robin Lopez.
Still pretty young, at 28 years old. You know what you’re getting: rebounds, defense, and zero offense. I would be content with Asik as the starting center for the Knicks.
Hibbert may opt into his final year for $15.5M, because 1) that’s a lot of money, and 2) the cap rises so he will be able to get a much bigger payday in 2016. If the Pacers try trading Hibbert, the Knicks should trade Jose Calderon. I know people have been giving Hibbert crap for his offensive inconsistency, but he still remains one of the best rim protectors in the league, and certainly a better rim protector than Cole Aldrige.
Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Paul George and James Harden are wings. If the Knicks want to ever dream about going far in the playoffs, they need players who can attempt to D up these monsters.
It is that doubtful the Bulls are going to let Butler walk. The 2015 Most Improved Player and Second All-Team Defender had an incredible season, and has no sign of slowing down. I’m sure plenty of teams, including the Knicks, will try to convince Butler to jump ship, but Butler is a restricted free agent, meaning the Bulls can match any offer. Kiss those dreams goodbye, my fellow Knicks fans.
I might sound like a broken record at this point, but defense is important and the Knicks are really bad at defense. DeMarre Carroll is not as good of a perimeter defender as Kawhi Leonard and Tony Allen, but he is still pretty damn good. He was the best perimeter defender on the 60-22 Hawks, so that has to count for something.
Last thing people remember about Carroll is Lebron kicking his ass in the conference finals, but Lebron kicks everyone’s ass. Carroll will not command max money. Add up all these factors and his improved 3-point jumper, at 39.5% for the season, and he would be a perfect fit for Melo.
Everything I just said about DeMarre Carroll minus a great 3-point shot. With that being said, he is still not a guy you want to leave open. Crowder gets his minutes due to his consistent defense. He’s only 24 years old, and should sign for a bargain this summer.
The New York native may want to go home if Phil gives him the financial incentive to deal with Long Island property taxes. If you watched the 2013 or 2014 finals, then you know what he does: one of the best three point shooters in the league and an extremely underrated defender. Green would be a great fit for Melo because he can help stretch the floor, and not hurt the Knicks on the defensive end. I expect a big payday for Green, unless the Spurs work their magic and sign him for no money, which I wouldn’t rule out.
Not an ideal fit for the triangle, but he’s a really good defender who likes to run and bring energy off the bench. The Knicks actually acquired Brewer in the Carmelo Anthony trade once upon a time. He didn’t play one minute as a Knick and was shipped to the Mavericks to win a championship. Nice.
When constructing a team, it’s not always about getting the most talented guys and throwing them on the court. Harris can ball, and he’s had some clutch possessions last season for the Magic, but he plays too similar to our beloved Carmelo Anthony to be considered a proper fit. I would pass if I were the Zen Master.
When people think of Melo’s old friend in Denver, they think of J.R. Smith. However, Aaron Afflalo started alongside Melo in Denver and was a part of Melo’s most relevant playoff series. The chemistry is already there. Like Danny Green, Afflalo can space the floor without hurting the Knicks on the defensive end.
Knicks need a floor general who can create for others. I don't see Jose Calderon staying on this roster.
Reggie is a restricted free agent and the Pistons traded for him in the middle of the season, knowing his contract was expiring. I assume they intend to keep him, but the Knicks should try to throw some money his way anyway because 1) he’d be a great fit with his ability to get to the rim and create for others, and 2) they could force the Pistons to overpay him.
Rondo lost millions of potential dollars after his horrible performance in the Playoffs. Mavs’ Coach, Rick Carlisle, was so fed up, he threw Rondo on the injured list and said goodbye. Defenders typically play 5 feet off of Rondo, and since he’s lost plenty of steps due to injuries, it is a lot more difficult for him to get to the rim. Pair that with his inability to shoot, and he’s a nightmare mix with the Knicks.
The Heat are probably going to max Dragic out. I wouldn’t want him anyway. Dragic would be a great fit on paper, but he would command way too much money for the Knicks to get any other decent role players.
The NBA is a point guard driven league, and many Knicks fans might be turned off at the idea of going after a point guard who is not considered an all-star. However, Knight is only 23 years old, and Phil Jackson has the chance to outbid the Suns on this restricted free agent.
Knight is a scoring point guard, and defenders are forced to play him tight, which helps him create off the dribble. He will be much cheaper than Goran Dragic.
Not sure if he counts as a point guard or a wing, but coming off the Sixth Man of the Year award, Williams will get overpaid. I’m a fan of his game, but having a guy who comes off the bench as your heat-check guy is considered a luxury. The Knicks are not fortunate enough to invest in a designated hitter, and if they were, J.R. Smith would still be around.
Stuckey is probably going to sign at discount considering the abundance of guards in this free agency. He is adept at getting to the rim and has the versatility to guard the 1 and 2. I know Stuckey isn’t the most attractive player in this free agency class, but keep in mind that the Knicks best rim penetrator last season was Alexey Shved. Baby steps.
Beverley is one of the top defenders at his position. He is a 90’s point guard at heart with his ability to play full court defense in attempt to wear down the opposing point guard. His inability to create shots for others, and make shots himself turns me off. Add that with his injury history, and I don’t think he’s great for the Knicks.
Eastern Conference teams are ranked in three categories:
1. Teams that have Lebron
2. Mediocre teams
3. Really really bad teams
The Milwaukee Bucks had the worst record in the league in 2014, and the next season they became a 6th seed (majority of the season without their best player). Things change faster than people anticipate, especially considering how bad the Eastern Conference has been for over a decade.
I know Phil’s track record as head honcho for the Knicks has not been great, but in all fairness, he inherited a poorly ran team, owned by a drunk psycho. This summer has the potential to put the Knicks in a positive direction.