As the NBA’s legal tampering phase kicked off on Friday, the New York Knicks observed in relative silence while a flurry of free agents sealed their deals, some receiving contracts beyond their expected market value.
This turn of events presents the Knicks with an intriguing predicament – finding the right reinforcements without significantly overshooting their budget, given the rapid thinning of the market.
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Potential Targets for Knicks: The Top Three Free Agents
1. Russell Westbrook: Risk vs. Reward
A prominent name still up for grabs in the free agent market is Russell Westbrook. However, acquiring him might pose risks for the Knicks, a team requiring more rotational pieces and better spacing.
Westbrook, now 34, could act as a secondary point guard, alleviating some pressure from Jalen Brunson. However, Westbrook’s high-volume play, reflected in his average of 15.9 points per game last season with the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, demands careful consideration.
Westbrook’s mid-season trade seemed to rejuvenate his form, hinting at possible confidence issues affecting his performance. While there’s no doubt about his scoring prowess, the club might prefer to invest in a younger player instead of a nearing-retirement scorer whose team-playing abilities could be questionable.
Despite these concerns, Westbrook’s average of 7.5 assists last season cannot be overlooked. If he’s open to a bench role, the Knicks might consider him, but it would likely involve trading Immanuel Quickley for another rotational piece or as part of a more significant deal to secure a third star.
2. Kelly Oubre: A Potential Revisit
The Knicks had shown interest in Kelly Oubre a few years back when he was a free agent. As his stint with the Charlotte Hornets likely concludes, he might be back on the Knicks’ radar.
Oubre, with an average of 20.3 points in the past season over 48 games and a .431 field goal percentage, has proven his worth. However, his three-point shooting could be a sticking point if the Knicks are aiming for better spacing and perimeter shooting.
Oubre’s average three-point success rate is .330, and his effective field goal rate stands at .497. With 5.2 total rebounds and 1.4 steals per game, he offers a reasonable package. While Oubre may not be the perfect fit, his availability as a free agent broadens the Knicks’ pool of choices.
3. Donte DiVincenzo: The Preferred Choice
Donte DiVincenzo seems to be the preferred choice for the Knicks, as rumors of their interest have persisted over the past few weeks. After rejecting his $4.7 million player option with the Golden State Warriors, DiVincenzo could secure a solid deal in the open market.
DiVincenzo, who averaged 9.4 points last season with a .435 field goal percentage and a notable .397 three-point percentage, shows promise as a key rotational player, or even a starter in case of injuries.
The key consideration here is DiVincenzo’s shooting ability, which aligns well with the Knicks’ requirements. However, with Quentin Grimes showing potential, the Knicks will need to decide on DiVincenzo’s potential role, keeping in mind that he only started 36 games with Golden State in 2022.
As the free agency market continues to evolve, the New York Knicks will have to maneuver smartly, making strategic decisions to enhance their roster while balancing their financial implications.