New York Knicks Off-Season Preview: Free Agency Edition

nicks-kcks-nykm-972-73-2016-17-fired-phil-jackson-world-champions-24144150The Phil Jackson experiment is over in New York and fans can finally breathe a sigh of relief and turn the page to the next era of Knicks basketball, which is hopefully centered around future All-Star Kristaps Porzingis. As we sit less than four hours before the free agency frenzy begins, reality is starting to set in that General Manager Steve Mills will be navigating the team through free agency and that is a scary thought.

Only the Knicks could go into the free agency period without a team president, oh wait the Cavaliers are right here with us but they’re in a little better predicament than the NYK. I’m hoping Mills treads lightly until reinforcements come in a few weeks and doesn’t dig us into an even deeper hole than this organization is already in. Here’s head coach Jeff Hornacek’s chance to get heavily involved with the structure of the team in 2017.

James Dolan probably has the highest approval rating of his disastrous tenure as owner from meddling to save the franchise from Phil “Triangle Offense” Jackson. If he wants to keep that momentum going, he should definitely look at ex-Cavs GM David Griffin who was recently let go by another crazy owner. I don’t know what to think of the John Calipari rumors, which he shut down, but in my opinion it wouldn’t be smart to give up multiple assets in hopes to get an established general manager like the Spurs R.C. Buford or Toronto’s team president Masai Ujiri, whom James Dolan is infatuated with.

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If Dolan wants to promote from within I’m cool with that as well. I believe Allan Houston has all the makings to be a successful executive after being in the organization’s front-office since the Donnie Walsh era in 2008. He’s paid his dues and is well respected within MSG. I’m just happy Isiah Thomas isn’t coming back to haunt us, stay over there with the Liberty, Zeke.

The Carmelo Anthony Saga Must Come To An End:

The Melo drama continues into the summer of 2017, but I believe it will finally come to an end. When the new executive is hired, this should be his first order of business to launch the Knicks into the next era of basketball. Teams will definitely come calling once they miss out on major wing targets like Paul George and Gordon Hayward this weekend. I still think it comes down to Houston, Cleveland and Washington as a dark horse. Remember, Carmelo Anthony has all the cards with his no-trade clause so he can pretty much handpick where he ends up.

Carmelo Anthony

Possible Free Agent Targets

Derrick Rose – Just kidding, he’ll be someone else’s problem next year. 

Ben McLemore – Still only 24-years-old, but had trouble developing in a crowded backcourt of a dysfunctional Kings organization. Worth a roll of the dice. Career 35% shooter from downtown. Averaged 12 points per game in extended playing time in 2015.

*** Knicks reportedly reach out to McLemore’s camp (July 1)***

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Shabazz Muhammad – Another 24-year-old that can fill it up in a short amount of time. The once highly touted UCLA product averaged 10 points and 3 rebounds in 19 minutes for the T’Wolves last season.

James Young – A guy I loved coming out of Kentucky in 2014 who became a lost first round pick spending much of his time on the bench for the Boston Celtics. Only 21-years-old and I still think he can reach his ceiling of a Lou Williams/Swaggy P potential type of player with proper nurturing and playing time.

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Dion Waiters – There aren’t many people as polarizing in the league as the Philly product. Waiters shut up his haters with a solid showing in Miami this past season, evolving as a leader and putting up solid numbers. Who could forget his game-winner against the Warriors, as he was a key cog in their mid-season turnaround. Let’s bring Waiters Island to NYC.

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Veteran Point Guard To Mentor Frank Ntilikina

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Darren Collison – a perfect fit for a mentorship role for Ntilikina. Collison should come at a fairly cheap price and be productive in his minutes. Still only 29, Darren is a guy the Knicks should target to help ease Ntilikina into the NBA lifestyle. Also, averaged 13 points and nearly 5 dimes a game in Sacramento last season.

Patty Mills – The Aussie has developed into a solid player for the Spurs over the past few seasons, who has seen extended minutes with the decline of Tony Parker. Cory Joseph drew a 4 year $29 million deal in free agency from Toronto last off-season, so something similar for Mills should be in line. Sign me up for the 40% shooter from deep.

*** Resigns with San Antonio Spurs – 4 years $50 million according to ESPN***

If the Knicks are smart it will be a relatively quiet off-season in NYC with the exception of shipping out Carmelo Anthony, but it’s for the best. I’m open to taking on a bad contract from someone if they attach an asset with it (young player/first round pick) or shipping out someone like Courtney Lee. We need to focus on building this from the ground up. It’s going to be a tough couple years here, but at least we have our draft picks going forward and hopefully Dolan chooses the right person to lead this franchise out of the abyss. Enjoy the madness people.

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