There is little doubt the New York Knicks will be active come August when free agents are able to sign with new teams. With a major need at point guard, there are several available options with Derrick Rose, and Elfrid Payton set to hit the open market next month. It is possible the Knicks allocate some of their draft capital toward a young collegiate PG; someone like Jared Butler or Tre Mann might offer a developmental alternative to prepare for the future.
However, depending on how much the Knicks desire to spend this off-season, with $50+ million available in funds, they can either aim toward the higher end of the market or find a younger, cheaper option they can grow around.
*Disclaimer: I left Derrick Rose off since he’s a retention candidate, looking at outside players only.
Ranking the top free-agent point guards:
1.) Chris Paul
The hottest PG on the market will ultimately be Chris Paul if he elects to decline his player option. Paul was reportedly seeking a three-year, $100 million deal, but the expectation is he might fall well below that, which could persuade him to stick with Phoenix for his last season.
ViaÂ Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated:
â€œThe Chris Paul player option â€” $44.2 million â€” will be interesting to watch. Execs Iâ€™ve talked to peg CP in the three-year, $60 million-ish range on a new deal. Does Paul go for the most guaranteed money? Or does he pick up the option and bet he has another All-Star season?â€
Paul is playing some of the best basketball of his career, averaging 16.4 points, 8.9 assists, and shooting .499 from the field. Heâ€™s also connecting on nearly .400% of the shots from three and a career-high .934% from the free-throw line.
If the Knicks want to spend an exorbitant amount of their available funds on a true and tried PG, Paul should be their guy. However, they might want to go younger and think long-term, as Paul is preparing to turn 37 next year, an elevated age to sign a multi-year deal. Nonetheless, he did play 70 games this year, far more than the majority of the options available on the market.
2.) Kyle Lowry
Another free agent PG preparing to hit the market is Kyle Lowry, coming off a season where he averaged 17.2 points, 7.3 assists, and shot .436 from the field. Having missed the All-Star game at 34 years old, Lowry only played 46 games this year and has had injury issues at times. He would undoubtedly be more affordable than Paul, but heâ€™s not entirely reliable, so I donâ€™t believe the Knicks will have much interest.
3.) Lonzo Ball
We all know the Knicks and Lonzo Ball were connected at the trade deadline this past season, so it could easily spill over into the off-season. Ball is a restricted free agent, so the New Orleans Pelicans will have the option to match any deals offered in free agency. Ball has taken solid steps forward in his development, averaging 14.6 points, 5.7 assists, and shot .414 from the field this year. He also connected on .378% of his shots from downtown, indicating his shooting is also improving.
Ball likely wonâ€™t earn top dollar on the market, but he could be a solid player to build around for the future, considering heâ€™s only 23 years old. The connection between the Knicks and Lonzo is one I would keep an eye on moving forward.
4.) Dennis Schroder
Another name that has bubbled to the surface at times is Los Angeles Lakers point guard Dennis Schroder. The Germany native was a former first-round selection by the Atlanta Hawks in 2013, and he has quietly gone under the radar the past few seasons.
At 27 years old, Schroder averaged 15.4 points, 5.8 assists, and shot .437 from the field this past season. While heâ€™s not an elite three-point shooter by any means, he offers consistent play and is a high-effort player. Heâ€™s looking to cash in this off-season, and while I donâ€™t think he is the right fit for the Knicks, he could be a consideration. Having turned down a contract extension from Los Angeles, Schroder is seeking upwards of $20 million per season, and after having a tough playoffs, he mightâ€™ve hurt his stock more than helped it.
5.) Spencer Dinwiddie
Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News reported that Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie is looking for a lucrative contract but also desires to return to Los Angeles, where he grew up.
If the Knicks view Dinwiddie as a suitable option, not only will they have to pay him, but they will have to be confident he can be their starting point guard moving forward. At 27 years old, Dinwiddie played just three games this past season before tearing his ACL.
However, during the 2019â€“20 season, Dinwiddie averaged 20.6 points, 6.8 assists, and shot .415 from the field. He has showcased he can be a lucrative scorer and solid defender, but dishing out big money for an unproven player coming off an injury is never advisable.