Knicks could bolster bench scoring with veteran wing in free agency

Mar 31, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Gordon Hayward (33) catches a pass as New York Knicks guard Alec Burks (18) looks on during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks will be in the hunt for depth pieces this offseason. After their depth was tested in this past season’s playoffs, having quality depth will be key for the team next season.

Gordon Hayward could be a veteran minimum option for the Knicks

Gordon Hayward, Knicks
Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

F Gordon Hayward could be a solid option for the Knicks. Hayward averaged 14.5 points per game in 25 appearances with the Charlotte Hornets last season, before being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Hayward’s time with the Thunder was rather forgettable. The 34-year-old found himself out of the rotation and failed to score a single point during the team’s playoff run.

The Knicks could sign Hayward for the veteran minimum if they choose to pursue him in free agency. He isn’t the same All-Star talent he was with the Utah Jazz or the Boston Celtics, but as his stint with Charlotte last season suggests, Hayward can still contribute to a team in the right role.

Hayward can give a similar bench production to what the Knicks saw with Bojan Bogdanovic

New York Knicks forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) reacts during the first quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden
Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Hayward could provide the Knicks with similar production that they got from F Bojan Bogdanovic this past season. Right now, it is unclear whether Bogdanovic will return to the Knicks next season, potentially clearing a path for Hayward.

Knicks’ contingency intrigued by Hayward

Dec 5, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau gestures towards New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) on the sideline against the Milwaukee Bucks in the first half at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks have had interest in Hayward in the past. According to The Athletic’s Fred Katz, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau has “always been a big fan” of the 2017 All-Star:

“Hayward provided a look of his younger self when he began the season with the Hornets, though he faded as spring came when he found himself outside the Thunder’s rotation. New York courted Hayward the last time the 34-year-old was a free agent, too,” Katz writes.

The Knicks saw their wing depth depleted due to injuries last season, a problem that Hayward could solve without putting a dent in the Knicks’ bank account.

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