Report: Knicks are eyeing 3 guards as potential free agent targets

talen horton-tucker, knicks

Having added multiple guards in the 2021 NBA draft, the New York Knicks are trying to establish a base of potential starters for the upcoming season. Landing Quentin Grimes out of Houston provides a solid 3-and-D player who can make an impact immediately, but guaranteeing him a starting spot might be overzealous.

With $50+ million in free agency to spend, the Knicks will be active this August, signing new players and adding talent to a roster that is preparing to lose several impact players.

The team is targeting shooting guards and point guards, being connected to three different players who could contribute.

“The Knicks are mentioned by league sources as a team that has expressed interest in [Evan] Fournier, while New York has also been linked to Lakers guards Dennis Schroder and Talen Horton-Tucker,” according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

Taking a look at the three targets listed for the Knicks:

1.) Evan Fournier

Evan Fournier is coming off a season where he featured on the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics. He’s able to play small forward and shooting guard, similar to Reggie Bullock, in case the Knicks lose him to free agency. The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly have an interest in Bullock’s services. Fournier, alternatively, averaged 17.1 points, 3.4 assists, and shot 46% from the field this past season. From three, he connected on 41% of his shots over 6.7 attempts, a solid clip that would provide plenty of value to a Knicks team that is focusing on three-point shooting.

His versatility to play multiple spots at guard and forward is a major positive, but depending on the former first-round picks asking price, it could be more affordable to retain Bullock instead. Fournier is coming off a five-year, $85 million deal, earning $17 million per season. He could earn a similar amount over the next few years, which is a major pay increase compared to what Bullock was earning last season.

2.) Dennis Schroder

One point guard, the Knicks, could be interested in is Dennis Schroder. The German could find his way back to the Lakers, but his asking price is quite high. Apparently, he is seeking a $100 million contract in free agency, based on his production, that number is quite lofty. He averaged 15.4 points, 5.8 assists and shot 43% from the field last year. His lackluster 33% from range doesn’t exactly scream efficiency and scoring production, and having elite players like Anthony Davis and LeBron James can mask deficiencies. In addition, the team just traded for Russell Westbrook, so Schroder is as good as gone.

If I’m the Knicks’ front office, I’m staying away from Schroder and his ridiculous asking price, as there are better options on the market.

3.) Talen Horton-Tucker

Another player who has been connected is Talen Horton-Tucker, who is preparing to turn 21 years old entering his third season of the NBA. Playing in 65 games last year, he averaged 9.0 points, 2.8 assists, and shot 46% from the field. As a primary shooting guard, he is solid driving to the basket and plays good defense, which is exactly what Tom Thibodeau is was looking for.

Horton-Tucker is a restricted free agent, so the Lakers have the final say in extending him a qualifying offer or letting an alternative club present an offer sheet. Unless the Knicks are willing to provide a sufficient deal, the Lakers can easily extend him on his qualifying offer. In that scenario, he would earn $1.8 million, a price point the Knicks can overcome. With the right coaching and scenario, Horton-Tucker could see his perimeter shooting improve, which is his primary weakness entering year three in the NBA.

Knicks could target Lakers’ Talen Horton-Tucker in free agency

Talen Horton-Tucker, New York Knicks

The New York Knicks need talent wherever they can get it, especially with injuries plaguing the team at the moment. However, there is a free agent target they could look to as a potential solution in 2021.

While he’s not a well-known player yet, former second-round pick Talen Horton-Tucker has made tremendous progress with the Los Angeles Lakers. As the 46th pick in 2019, he doesn’t have a guaranteed contract just yet with Los Angeles, and with the Lakers’ deep rotation at guard, they might have no choice but to let Horton-Tucker walk this upcoming off-season.

One team that should 100% be in on him are the Knicks, who have inconsistent youth and several veterans trying to find their spot on the team.

Horton-Tucker has only played in 10 games this year, averaging 8.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. However, he hasn’t disappointed while on the floor, seeing improvement as a shooter and solid vision on the court.

According to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com, the Mavericks, Knicks and Cavaliers could all target Horton-Tucker.

“League sources told Heavy.com Horton-Tucker can expect ‘multiple teams’ to have an interest in pursuing him this summer,” Deveney wrote. “That would put pressure on the Lakers to match some offers that could, potentially, be very hefty. The Knicks, Cavaliers and Mavericks were listed as teams with potential interest.”

Considering he’s learning under LeBron James, Talen has the potential to be a fantastic player in the future. Over a four-game stretch, he averaged 20+ points at one point this season, and as a mature player with smart basketball knowledge, he would fit like a glove in New York.

The expectation is that Horton-Tucker could earn in the $10 million range, and considering the Knicks desperately need more adequate shooters, he could fit the bill well. He has a .484 field goal percentage this year and is shooting .364 from downtown. While he’s only connected on 10 of 22 from three, he’s also an aggressive defensive player, which is exactly what head coach Tom Thibodeau is looking for.