New York is not the destination it once was. Big markets are becoming less relevant, because winning equates to endorsements etc. In addition to this, the Knicks have an overpaid Center in Joakim Noah, a no-trade-clause Melo, and an exit interview skipping Kristaps Porzingis.
We will not be discussing the Knicks’ chances landing CP3, Kyle Lowry, Gordon Hayward and Blake Griffin, because there is no chance. Not including rookie Frank Ntilikina’s contract, the Knicks have $79 million reserved for a $99 million salary cap.
The Knicks are not going to win a championship next season, so any move they make should support Porzingis’ timeline. Despite trade rumors, Porzingis is not going anywhere. Phil Jackson is just cranky.
Here are some realistic opportunities that the Knicks might want to pursue:
The Knicks just drafted a point guard, but Frank Ntilikina is 18 years old, who knows if he is ready?
Pros: George Hill is an average NBA point guard. He can comfortably run an NBA offense with minimal mistakes. Hill is an above average defender and shooter.
Cons: Hill is 31 years old and injury prone. He also is not a great playmaker, averaging only 4 assists per game last season.
Pros: Teague is a great athlete and he would thrive in a fast paced Jeff Hornacek offense. He likes to push the ball and create for his teammates.
Cons: Teague is going to have a steep asking price that might be above his actual value. The Knicks might not even be able to afford Teague. He could help a team looking to make that next step into contention, but he’s not the sole answer for a winning team.
Pros: This former Finals MVP symbolizes everything the Knicks are missing: playmaking and defense. At 33 years old, he’s not going to command as much money as he deserves. The Warriors can’t pay Iggy a lot if they want to keep their All-NBA Superstar nucleus intact.
Cons (for the Knicks): Iggy just won a championship and would probably not want to join a team owned by James Dolan.
Pros: 25 Year old Michael Carter-Williams is a former rookie of the year. Like Ntilikina, MCW has a Livingston (pre-injury) body. With his long frame he has the ability to disrupt passes and bully smaller defenders. His stock is at an all-time low, and he is well worth a gamble in my opinion.
Cons: MCW is barely shooting over 40% for his career. As a modern point guard, that is unacceptable. Even though he is a great athlete who can get to the rim, opposing defenders will play 5 feet off of him and dare him to shoot. Until MCW can hit an open shot consistently, he will have trouble cracking the rotation on winning teams.
Pros: Roberson takes on the responsibility of guarding the opposing team’s best player every night. He is great at staying on his feet and not buying into fakes from guys who thrive at getting to the line like James Harden and Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks are in desperate need of good perimeter defenders.
Cons: Roberson might be one of the worst free throw shooters of all time at his position (42% last season). This issue is so severe that teams intentionally foul him in order to waste possessions. He also shot 25% from three last season, off mostly open looks through Westbrook.
Pros: Outstanding athlete. Jonathan Simmons was undrafted and developed through the Spurs organization. He showed throughout last season that he’s a good defender and an all around above average offensive role player.
When Kawhi Leonard got hurt against the Rockets, Simmons stepped up in his role and helped finish off the series. I like to compare him to prime Lance Stephenson minus the crazy streak. Simmons is an all around player; he can make plays, score and defend.
Cons: There are really no cons to promote other than the fact that Simmons is a restricted free agent under the Spurs. It’s very unlikely the Spurs won’t match anything the Knicks would potentially throw Simmons’ way.
Luc Mbah a Moute
Pros: Guards the best perimeter player on the other team, and shot a career high 39% from three last season.
Cons: 30 years old does not fit the Porzingis timeline. He also shot a career high from three with Chris Paul as his point guard. I can’t imagine he would get the same shots as a Knickerbocker.
Pros: Holiday was one of the few positives last season for the Knicks. He’s not a game changer by any means, but he is not afraid to look for his shot and provide energy off the bench.
Cons: Holiday has not proven to be a sustainable presence for extended minutes. He is nearing his prime at 28 years old. It’s now or never for Holiday.
This is probably the most boring column I’ve written in the history of Swiss Cheese D, but I can’t lie and say the Knicks are going to do anything exciting this offseason. Another thing the Knicks might do is save money, fill out their roster with cheap young players, and just wait it out.
Once Porzingis grows into an all-star and their younger players (Hernangomez, Kuzmingskas, Ntilikina) get more reps, bigger names will be enticed to sign with the Knicks. Nothing should be forced this offseason, there should be no sense of urgency whatsoever. The Knicks are in this for the long run, because there is no other choice.