While the New York Knicks are being connected to a variety of different star players and complementary pieces, it is entirely possible they look to a few of their own free agents to consider bringing back for the 2021-22 season.
Their most recent campaign was full of ups and downs, but the team surprisingly exceeded expectations thanks to a few key contributors. The players expected to hit the market this off-season include Derrick Rose, Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, Taj Gibson, and Elfrid Payton. While some of these players deserve an extension, others are worth letting go, so the Knicks have to decide carefully who they are willing to spend money on as they look to acquire a star player on a max contract.
Three free agents the New York Knicks should re-sign for next season:
1.) Derrick Rose
Without the influence of Derrick Rose this past season, the Knicks would’ve struggled to claim the 4th seed and home-court advantage to open the postseason, despite losing to the Atlanta Hawks in five games. Rose seemed to be the only catalyst on offense during the playoffs because he was also consistent throughout the regular season.
Rose finished with 14.9 points, 4.2 assists, and connected on .487 of his shots from the field. He also had a career-high .411 shots from three-point, showcasing a new contribution that helped elevate the team. His vision on the court and impact was essential for a team that lacked a true PG to help keep them in games. Rose proved that he still has some quality basketball left in his legs, and the Knicks should heavily consider bringing him back for next season as a catalyst off the bench.
Having a player like Rose to complement a star point guard would be a fantastic reality, so the Knicks must do everything in their power to retain the veteran on at least a one-year deal.
2.) Alec Burks
One player that had a surprising impact was Burks, a player capable of playing shooting guard and small forward. At 29 years old, the former first-round pick averaged 12.7 points over 25.6 minutes on average. He was stellar on offense, hitting on .420 of his shots from the field and .415 from three-point. He was considered an immediate impact as an offensive playmaker, and having a player of his specific qualities is always a benefit. The Knicks signed Burks on a one-year, $6 million deal, so finding a way to retain him moving forward would be beneficial.
3.) Taj Gibson
While most might prefer to retain Noel, Gibson proved to be one of their best players during the postseason. While he will be 36 years old next year, it is clear that Gibson still plays hard and leaves it all in the court. As a Brooklyn native, the veteran made an impact as a defender and rebounder during his half-season with the Knicks, playing in 45 games. His contract was minimal, earning $2.28 million for the season, so if the front office can keep him around for a similar price point, it would be a positive move.