Knicks could target 76ers forward in free agency to reinforce roster

NBA: Playoffs-New York Knicks at Philadelphia 76ers
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are at a crossroads this offseason, with critical decisions pending, particularly regarding the potential extension of standout player OG Anunoby. Reports suggest that Anunoby was not entirely pleased with the Knicks’ initial long-term contract offer, setting the stage for a possibly protracted negotiation period. Anunoby, known for his defensive prowess and underrated scoring ability, is looking to maximize his value in free agency.

Knicks Face Key Offseason Decisions

Anunoby’s season was cut short by a hamstring injury during a game against the Pacers, a significant blow that impacted the team’s playoff chances. Should negotiations falter and Anunoby explore other options, the Knicks might consider pivoting to Kelly Oubre, an impending free agent from the Philadelphia 76ers. Although Oubre represents a step down in terms of overall impact, he remains a viable alternative.

Jan 15, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby (8) celebrates with forward Julius Randle (30) after a basket against the Orlando Magic during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

“The Philadelphia 76ers will be looking to make big swings this offseason, giving the Knicks a chance to scoop up some of the talent that troubled them in the first round of this year’s playoffs. Oubre is a dynamic playmaker and finisher, who would provide New York some necessary depth on the wing,” SNY contributor David Vertsberger wrote.

Evaluating Kelly Oubre’s Performance

In the past season with the 76ers, Oubre started 52 of the 68 games he played, averaging 15.4 points and five rebounds per game, along with 1.5 assists and 1.1 steals. His field goal percentage was .441, though his three-point shooting lagged at .311, marking a concern for efficiency.

Defensively, Oubre posted a rating of 114.2, though his peak performance in his rookie season saw a more impressive 105.9. While not on Anunoby’s level, Oubre’s affordability and decent track record could make him an appealing option for the Knicks.

NBA: Playoffs-New York Knicks at Philadelphia 76ers
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Financial Implications and Strategic Choices

The financial disparity between Anunoby and Oubre is stark; Anunoby is expected to command at least $35 million per season, whereas Oubre would cost significantly less. This price difference could allow the Knicks greater flexibility in free agency to bolster their roster with additional support players. However, the overall value and impact of Anunoby would be challenging to replace.

As the Knicks continue their discussions with Anunoby’s representatives, the small forward seems prepared to test the free agency market to potentially increase his price.

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