What is the New York Knicks pitch to Kawhi Leonard in free agency?

Can the New York Knicks convince Kawhi Leonard to come to New York?

The free agent market in the NBA is one of pure unpredictability. The New York Knicks will see players expected to join their ranks take their talents elsewhere and others agree to compete in the Mecca. My initial thoughts are – Kevin Durant won’t wind up being with the Knicks, but that won’t stop them from pursuing Toronto Raptors star, Kawhi Leonard.

As much as Leonard enjoys winning, he seems to enjoy the challenge just as much. Location doesn’t mean as much as holding the trophy at the end of the NBA finals, yet reports have stated he’s interested in going to Los Angeles.

The Knicks will start their pursuit with a disadvantage, but their game-plan should be to convince him that he can solidify his name at the top by leading a team of youth and becoming a mentor as well as a winner.

The New York Knicks need to emphasize their direction and the challenge:

Having youngsters like RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, and Damyeon Dotson to work with, Leonard might be intrigued by the leadership role and true challenge of New York. In addition, the Knicks have two max-contract slots to fill, which would allow them to pair Kawhi with another talented option.

Think — Kawhi and D’Angelo Russell. Two elite talents that can work well together. Given Kyrie Irving ends up in Brooklyn, the Knicks will need to find talent at the point guard position, which is where Russell enters the picture.

Coming off an All-Star performance in 2018, the free agent will be looking to earn a pretty penny, and the reality is, the Knicks, residing up the block and a quick ride on the 4 train, are a good option. The point guard has already stated he wants to stay in the Big Apple, which gives the Knicks an advantage.

It will be interesting to see how they approach free agency and if Leonard is actually a possibility. It’s expected they will earn a meeting with him, but convincing him to lead a team of youth will be the difficult part.

New York Knicks: D’Angelo Russell looking more like a reality

New York Knicks, D'Angelo Russell

With Kyrie Irving reportedly taking his talents to the Brooklyn Nets, the New York Knicks are in a good position to pursue D’Angelo Russell for their starting point guard position.

Irving, who was unhappy in Boston, will make his return to New York with the Nets being the favored team. The atmosphere and direction they’re headed seem to be more in-line with Kyrie’s goals. That will certainly influence the decision of superstar Kevin Durant and other free agents looking to make a move to the Big Apple.

Russell has already stated he wants to stay in New York, which is a good sign for the Knicks since it would be a short drive up to Madison Square Garden.

SNY’s Ian Begley stated:

“If Irving ends up signing in Brooklyn, it may have an interesting ripple effect on the roster, particularly D’Angelo Russell.”

“Russell, a restricted free agent, will likely draw significant interest on the open market. The 23-year-old is coming off of an All-Star season in which he helped lead Brooklyn to the playoffs. Members of the Pacers organization are high on Russell” [SNY]

After drafting RJ Barrett with the 3rd overall pick on Thursday night, it leaves the point guard position thin. They do have Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina at the spot, but the reality is neither will likely be franchise caliber players. Smith Jr. is a solid offensive performer but needs to work on his defense.

Russell presents an elite option that likely wouldn’t require a max-contract to sign. That allows the Knicks to bring in a superstar and more, which would help the team ‘establish a sense of veteranship and stability. Additionally, having quality depth is always a positive thing.

However, they should still be focused on providing their young players with ample playing time to aid their development. I do think, though, that Russell would be a great addition for the Knicks.

 

New York Knicks: Will RJ Barrett lure big free agents to Big Apple?

New York Knicks, RJ Barrett

As expected, the New York Knicks selected Duke star RJ Barrett with the 3rd overall pick. After fending off the Atlanta Hawks for the Knicks’ first-round pick, it was nearly a guarantee they’ be selecting the 6-foot-7 swingman.

Barrett will bring a tenacious mentality towards success and production in New York, despite shooting just 31% from behind the arc and 67% from the free-throw line last season. Those two deficiencies will be ironed out in his rookie campaign, but his potential remains sky-high.

What does RJ Barrett bring to the New York Knicks?

An elite scorer around the rim and solid defender, RJ has the ability to take the Knicks to another level during his career. His influence alone should be a catalyst in luring max-contract players to the Mecca.

The hardest part in recruiting superstars will be convincing them to have faith in the youth agenda the Knicks are following. A majority of their players are under 20-years-old, which puts the team in a good position. If they aren’t able to bring in a player like Kevin Durant, they can simply continue forward with their young players and continue developing them.

However, signing Durant and a high-profile point guard would go a long way in the growth of the young players and allowing them to see success early on in their careers. A devastatingly poor season in 2018 surely didn’t help them in their overall confidence, but it was essential for them to earn playing time and understand the talent they must compete against.

Barrett, though, is versed in competition, and would likely have been the consensus No. 1 pick if Zion Williamson hadn’t taken college basketball by storm. Moving forward, we should expect to see the Knicks aggressively pursue Durant and Kawhi Leonard in free agency.

With rumors of Kyrie Irving taking his talents to the Brooklyn Nets, D’Angelo Russell has emerged as a legitimate option for the Knicks beyond Irving and Kemba Walker.

New York Knicks could look at these 3 second-tier free agents

New York Knicks interested in free agent, Khris Middleton.

The New York Knicks survived the Anthony Davis trade unscathed, meaning they didn’t part with their young talent in favor of bringing in a superstar with one-year left on his contract. Reports indicated the Knicks were willing to give up the #3 overall pick, a future first-rounder and a young player of the Pelicans’ choice.

Clearly, they favored the Los Angeles Lakers’ deal far more, considering they added the 4th overall pick and a slew of young talent. The fact of the matter is, the Knicks saved themselves some trouble by not giving away the farm, but it also rules another big-time player out.

With Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson both suffering significant injuries, the Knicks have to make a difficult decision – do they pursue injured talent in hopes of them making an impact upon their return, or do they save their money for another day and continue building around their youth.

There’s a reason to believe the Knicks will certainly go after Durant despite his torn Achilles, but it’s only fair we look into the second-tier market and who fits the bill for David Fizdale.

1.) PG – D’Angelo Russell

Russell might not fit the “second-tier” model, but with Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker headlining the point guard market, the Brooklyn star lands in the 3rd spot in terms of quality.

The Knicks would be smart to pursue D’Angelo if they cannot convince Irving to bring his talents to the Mecca. Russell averaged 21.1 points-per-game in his first All-Star caliber season. He’s a young talent that the Knicks can build around and utilize for the extended future. They will have plenty of money to sign another max-contract player if need be.

2.) F – Khris Middleton

The Knicks wouldn’t need to unload a max-contract for Middleton, who acted as swingman for the Bucks last season. Despite not being considered a superstar, he’s about as close as it gets. Averaging 18.3 points-per-game last season, Middleton is a proven scorer that can add offensive efficiency to the Knicks.

If the Knicks do manage to lure Durant to the big apple and miss out on a point guard, Khris could be a perfect compliment.

3.) G – JJ Redick

At 34-years-old, Redick is surely on the back-end of his career, but there’s plenty of value to be extracted from the elite shooter. Having a trustworthy shooter that’s a .413 career three-point shooter, only benefits the offense and clutchness of the team.

Redick averaged 18.1 points-per-game in 2018 with the 76ers, proving he’s still capable. The last two seasons have seen his assist numbers increase as well, meaning he’s moving the ball around better as well. He signed a one-year, $12.25 million contract last season, which is far less than a max deal. Bringing him in on a one/two-year deal for $11-12 million per year would be good for the Knicks and the development of their youth.

 

New York Knicks: What happens if Kyrie Irving takes his talents to Brooklyn?

What should the New York Knicks do if they lose out on Celtics star, Kyrie Irving?

There’s a simple reality to Kyrie Irving potentially taking his talents to the Brooklyn Nets and dragging Kevin Durant along with him. The New York Knicks will have to settle for the next best thing, and that might very well be D’Angelo Russell.

The star Nets points guard had an All-Star season in 2018, averaging 21.1 points-per-game. However, he’s still the second, or even third point guard choice for the Knicks as Kemba Walker remains a possibility.

Irving has expressed his desire to join the Nets – an indicator being his signing with Roc Nation, the CEO being the brother of the Nets’ general manager.  Irving has already sat down with Durant and spoken about playing together in the Big Apple. At this point, signs are pointing towards the Nets, but ruling out the Knicks so early in the free agent window would be ignorant.

According to Ric Bucher of Fox Sports:

“I’m told Kevin Durant has moved all his stuff to New York and will spend the summer there,” Bucher said on The Herd. “He and Kyrie have met and have continued to discuss playing together… Every indication says KD is making plans to be elsewhere.”

It’s fair to consider Russell, who’s comfortable in New York, a potential option for the Knicks given the injury to Durant and lack of confidence in Irving coming to The Garden. The point guard market will certainly dry up fast, and the draft doesn’t represent many good options aside from Ja Morant, who will likely take his talents to Memphis as they hold the No. 2 pick.

After the premium options, the Knicks would be left to choose from Ricky Rubio, Darren Collison, Patrick Beverley, and Rajon Rondo.

With Russell at 27-years-old, it’s fair to say offering him a max contract would be a good idea. With only one inspiring season under his belt, it would be a risk, but he’s shown that he can play at an extremely high level, and providing him with the weapons to utilize offensively should help him develop even further. It will be interesting to see where the Knicks allocate more resources this offseason.

 

 

 

New York Knicks could swipe D’Angelo Russell from Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn Nets, D'Angelo Russell

With the Brooklyn Nets suddenly entering the conversation for star point guard Kyrie Irving and his elusive skill-set, the New York Knicks could contend for D’Angelo Russell in free agency.

Russell, who finally came into himself in his fourth season as a professional, proved the LA Lakers wrong with an All-Star performance in 2018. The Nets enjoyed his progression, as he averaged 21.1 points-per-game (basketball-reference), leading an unexpected team to the playoffs, despite falling to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round.

At this point in time, it seems as if the Nets have surpassed the Knicks in terms of potential and success. However, the Knicks, ran by Scott Perry, could be a suitable destination for the Nets point guard if they do, in fact, go after Irving.

Russell has been rumored to stay with the Nets as of late, as his image and pride has forced him to make a difficult decision. The Knicks might be the only team that could pry him away, allowing him to stay in New York and compete on the biggest stage.

With $73 million in cap space, the Knicks will have plenty of cash to splash on the dynamic point guard, and if Kevin Durant is set on bringing his talents to the Mecca, it might convince D’Angelo to take his talents up the street.

Other option still remains on the table for the New York Knicks:

If the Knicks strike out on Irving, Kemba Walker, and Russell, they could still elect to trade the farm in favor of Anthony Davis and still bring in Durant. They would take up just about all of their available cap space and they would lose a majority of their youth talent. However, the starting team would be instant playoff caliber.

In addition, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins, Jimmy Butler, and more, will all be on the open market. The Knicks simply couldn’t have picked a better time to open up the flood gates with cap space.

 

New York Knicks: Hypothetical & Rumor Central

New York Knicks

The New York Knicks rumors and scenarios for this off-season are in full-force.  The Knicks will have plenty of big decisions to make this summer.  Over the course of this summer, the landscape of the Knicks may look very different.

Rumors

In recent days, the NBA rumors have been buzzin’.  It begins with the Pelicans starting to listen to offers for superstar Anthony Davis.  Davis listed a group of teams that we would sing with long-term.  The teams were the Lakers, Knicks, Bucks and Clippers, via Shams Charania.

Another one from Charania, the Knicks expressed interest in Celtic’s Marcus Morris.  He would be the perfect Knick.  Morris is a bruiser and would jump into the enforcer role for the Knicks.

On the Kyrie Irving front, apparently, Irving has expressed that the Brooklyn Nets are his top choice in free agency, via Stephen A. Smith.  When it comes to Irving, no one knows what to believe.

Reports of where free agents want to go will change daily.

As for Kemba Walker, apparently, Walker and the Hornets are both each other’s top priority this off-season.

Hypothetical

If the Knicks were to miss out on Irving and Walker, they should take a hard look at free agent point guard D’Angelo Russell.

Russell really excelled this season, turning himself into, almost, an elite point guard.  He is young, 23, and just entering his prime.  Coming off the best season of his career, 21.1 ppg & 7 ast, Russell could be poised for a big pay day.

Russell knows the media and how to handle New York.  It would be worthy making a push considering his youth and ability thus far.

As for now, rumors are simply rumors.  A little over 3 weeks July 1st and rumors are just starting to heat up.