The New York Knicks can execute a few different approaches during free agency. Either, they can target a high priced free agent that takes up the majority of their available funds, or they can spread the money around to hit different positions and bolster the roster as a whole. Being more balanced could end up having a greater impact than overspending on one elite player like Chris Paul, for example.
When considering the rumors that have bubble to the surface the past few weeks, a good portion of the players aren’t expected to make high and money in the future. Aside from Paul and the obvious Damian Lillard trade discussions, the Knicks have been connected to a variety of players who would help balance out the roster with specific talents to mask deficiencies.
Bringing in some experienced players mixed with youth should be a priority, as they can target a long-term impact rather than a short term situation that could end up blowing up in their faces at a high price.
Knicks mock free agency ($50 million available):
1.) Derrick Rose: 2-years, $24 million
One of the Knicks’ best players this past season was Derrick Rose, who they acquired from the Detroit Pistons at the trade deadline. Over 35 games in New York, Rose averaged 15 points, 4.2 assists, and shot a career-high 41% from downtown. He was one of the major reasons they finished as the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference.
Considering how well Rose played and his influence on the rookies, he has proved his durability and deserves another contract. The Knicks reward him for his efforts last year in this scenario, electing to draft a high profile point guard to develop behind the veteran and help mitigate fatigue.
2.) Kelly Oubre Jr.: 3-years, $51 million
New York has been connected to Golden State Warriors’ small forward Kelly Oubre the past few weeks, who offers a decent 3-and-D option. As a left-handed shooter, Oubre is a solid defender who is also capable of connecting on three-point shots effectively. While he started off the 2020-21 season poorly in the category, which significantly hampered his statisticual output, he can hit over 35% of his shots from range averaging over five attempts per game.
This past season, he averaged 15.4 points and six total rebounds, indicating he can produce with adequate minutes, and pairing him with head coach Tom Thibodeau should allow him to realize his potential – especailly on defense.
3.) Jarrett Allen: 2-years, $25 million
The Knicks could use another big body behind Mitchell Robinson, especially with Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson hitting free agency. Allen was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers this past year, and depending on who they draft, they could pass on his qualifying offer.
One of the Knicks’ biggest weakness is this past season was physicality in the paint during the playoffs. Allen is a 6’11”, 243 pound center, who also averaged double digit points per game. With Robinson dealing with injuries last season and on the last year of his rookie deal, having Allen as a long-term solution would create a sense of comfort at a position that could need an injection of talent sooner rather than later.
4.) Alec Burks: 2-years, $16 million
One off the Knicks’ most valuable and consistent players this year was Alec Burks, who represented instant offense off the bench. The former first round pick averaged nearly 13 points, 2.2 assists, and shot 41% from downtown. His veteran experience and ability to play forward and guard makes him a valuable utility piece off the bench. He supplements injuries well and represented one of the more clutch players in the fourth quarter for a team that struggled closing out games at times.
Bringing back Burks would be a positive move, and keep a bit of chemistry and familiarity with Thibodeau system.