New York Knicks could cut veterans, make space for G League standouts

The New York Knicks’ roster should be in for some big changes this offseason. The Knicks filled out their team last summer with veteran signings. The team has strategized the past year to have cap flexibility going forward, and it could lead to major shifts in the roster next season.

No one has stood out

The only player that the Knicks acquired last summer who exceeded expectations was Marcus Morris Sr., who the Knicks wisely traded at the deadline for a first-round pick.

That isn’t to say some of the Knicks’ veterans haven’t had good spurts of contribution. Moe Harkless has impressed with his defense in his brief time with the Knicks, though he will be a free agent this summer. Elfrid Payton has certainly been a great playmaker, and Taj Gibson’s leadership has been an asset. All that said, no one is safe.

Among the Knicks veterans, Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, and Wayne Ellington all have team options next season. If the Knicks were to decline all of them, they would save roughly 34 million in cap space. The writing is on the wall.

Now, assuming Portis, Gibson, Ellington, and Harkless all leave next summer, that opens up a lot of roster spots and a lot of minutes. Some of those spots will be taken by the Knicks 2020 draft picks, and potential free agent signings. They can also be taken by the Knicks’ G League standouts.

The Big 3

It’s been hard for the New York Knicks to properly allocate minutes to all of their young players. While some players like Damyean Dotson and Allonzo Trier have been stuck on the Knicks’ bench, others have gotten significant playing time with the team’s G League affiliate. The 3 who have stood out are forward Ignas Brazdeikis, guard Lamar Peters, and big man Kenny Wooten.

Ignas Brazdeikis

Brazdeikis will most likely get the first crack at the rotation, as he was the Knicks 2nd round pick in 2019. Brazdeikis has lit up the G League, averaging 20.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists. His offensive versatility is something the Knicks are severely lacking from their wing players.

Lamar Peters

Lamar Peters has been a jolt of offense for the Westchester Knicks. The shifty, undrafted rookie out of Mississippi State has posted just under 18 points per game. His outside shooting has been impressive: 40% from 3. Peters could find himself as a scorer off the bench for the Knicks next season.

Kenny Wooten

While he may not score much, Kenny Wooten may have the most highlight-reel plays of the 3. The undrafted center is a force of nature defending the paint. He averages a whopping 3.6 blocks per game in the G League and could find himself backing up Mitchell Robinson in the future.

Plan Going Forward

It remains to be seen how the Knicks will mold their roster for next season. Most of the veterans on the team seem like obvious cap casualties. The Knicks have been able to develop talent in the G League that definitely deserves a look in the NBA. Bringing up young guys like Brazdeikis, Peters, and Wooten would certainly help drive some competition for roster spots.