The Free Agency Profile for the New York Knicks
*Photo via NY Post
New York Knicks (17-65)- (5th Atlantic Division, 15th Eastern Conference)
Through the eyes of many, the Knicks’ season is summarized in one word: disappointment.
In my opinion, the season is summarized in a different word: opportunity.By essentially tanking and throwing in the towel, the Knicks grabbed a potential superstar in the NBA Draft in Kristaps Porzingis. Further, Knicks’ President Phil Jackson traded away guys he didn’t see a part of the team’s future for draft picks, which ended up clearing more cap space.
A main reason for the Knicks’ poor season was the team’s poor play as well as injuries to key players. Tim Hardaway Jr., amongst others, failed to grasp the triangle offense which led to a discombobulated offense. For the second straight season, Andrea Bargnani was hurt for most of the year and Carmelo Anthony missed the second half of the season due to knee surgery.
Among those disappointments, there were a few bright spots. Langston Galloway played his way onto Second-Team All Rookie. Jason Smith, a signing last offseason, played well this year and will probably be brought back next year. Finally, guys that were brought over in trades like Lance Thomas, Lou Amundson, and Alexey Shved all played well and may have earned spots on the team next year as well.
The Knicks’ season ended long before the playoffs started. Fans have been looking forward to this offseason for a while, and so far Phil Jackson has gotten off to a nice start.
Cap Space: Roughly $7 million
Players Already Signed:
SG Arron Afflalo
C Robin Lopez
Free Agents (All Unrestricted)
G Shane Larkin (Already signed with the Brooklyn Nets)
PF/C Andrea Bargnani
Though Bargs missed considerable time again this year, he played well. He averaged 14.8 points per game and greatly improved his three-point shooting from the year before. Since he played with New York for two seasons he has Early Bird Rights, which means the Knicks can sign him even if they exceed the salary cap. Seeing as that they already said they’re open to bringing him back for the right price, I think he’ll return to the Knicks.
SG Alexey Shved
The Knicks brought Shved over in the Pablo Prigioni trade, and he played better than anyone could’ve expected. He averaged 14.8 points and 3.6 assists per game with the Knicks.
Like Bargnani, the Knicks would welcome Shved back for the right price.
PF/C Jason Smith
Smith was another bright spot for the Knicks this past year. His eight points and four rebounds per game aren’t breathtaking, but as a reserve the Knicks would be happy to bring him back.
A more important note is Smith played in all 82 games this year for the first time in his career. He had only played in 70 plus games twice before this past season.
The Knicks have indicated they want him back and the feeling seems to be mutual. I think he’ll return.
PF Quincy Acy
I doubt Acy returns with the Knicks. He wasn’t bad but as other players grasped the offense more, and Acy saw his playing time diminish. He’s a limited offensive player without versatility on the defensive end. It would be surprising to see him in a Knicks uniform next year.
SF/ PF Travis Wear
Wear’s versatility on both ends is valuable and he has a decent long-range stroke (36.7 percent). The main reason why I don’t think he’ll be back is him and Lance Thomas have similar skill sets and Thomas played better. Wear could return, but it’s not likely.
SF/ PF Lance Thomas
Thomas is a gritty, hard-working forward with a decent mid range shot. He played well with the Knicks and they have signaled that they want him back.
I think he’ll return in a backup role.
PF/C Lou Amundson
Amundson gave the Knicks blue-collar effort this year, similar to Thomas. He could return to New York as his salary isn’t expensive by any means and they could use his effort in the interior.
He’s an underrated rebounder and plays tough every possession, something the fans of New York love to see.
C Cole Aldrich
I always wonder why Aldrich doesn’t play more. He’s effective on defense and decent on offense. Plus, he’s a big body who can rebound well (12 rebounds per 36 minutes for his career). His biggest weakness is he’s not quick enough to cover the pick and roll that well, but for his strengths he’s worth bringing back to New York.
Capable starting small forward
If the Knicks start ‘Melo at the power forward position alongside Lopez, they’ll need a more capable starting small forward to fill the void. Lance Thomas or Ricky Ledo won’t cut it as starters.
The Knicks need athleticism. The Knicks were one of the slowest teams last year. They should look to run more this year and if they do they’ll need more athletic players. A faster pace and more transition opportunities will make better use of the triangle offense.
It’s too early to foresee whom the Knicks will bring back to bolster their frontcourt, but they’ll need rebounding help for sure. They ranked 29th in the league this year in total rebounds per game.
Adding Lopez is a good start, but they’ll need a solid backup if Aldrich or Jason Smith can’t be retained.
Once again, the Knicks were despicable on defense this year. They ranked dead last in opponent’s three-point percentage and 27th in opponent’s field goal attempts per game.
SF Wes Johnson
I loved Wes Johnson at Syracuse but he hasn’t to put it together in the pros. His three-point stroke is decent at 35 percent for this past year, but he’s not efficient anywhere else.
He’s still an elite athlete and good, long defender. In the right offense his numbers should improve and I think the triangle could benefit someone like Johnson.
SF/PF Derrick Williams
Like Brewer, the Knicks have already had conversations with Williams. Though he’s seen through eyes of some as a bust, Williams just hasn’t found the right fit. He’s still only 24 years old and his per 36 numbers are actually pretty solid: 15 points and 7 rebounds for his career.
He’s an athletic wing, who could serve as a backup plan if Brewer doesn’t come to New York.
C Jeff Withey
Withey, like Aldrich, is a Kansas Jayhawk big man with capable rebounding and shot blocking abilities. At 25, he’s young and has potential to blossom into a pretty good player. His per 36 numbers (11 points and 8.2 rebounds) are worthy of being a backup center.
If he doesn’t return to New Orleans, the Knicks could grab him at a bargain.