Throughout the offseason and prior to the trade deadline, New York Knicks president of basketball operations, Phil Jackson, made a series of trades that dumped salary. Due to these trades and the waiving of some players, New York now has close to or around $30 million to spend during free agency. With that money it is thought by many that it will attract big name free agents.
The 2015 free agency pool is stacked with talent, if it be superstars, all-round players, defensive specialists or sharp shooters. Jackson and the Knicks may not necessarily offer huge contracts to the biggest stars but invest in players who could slide in nicely into New York’s triangle offence.
Although there may be many superstars, there are plenty of first and second tier free agents the Knicks should steer clear of.
Here are the main players;
Rajon Rondo is an immense talent. He is an assist machine, a great passer, a nightly triple-double threat, a great perimeter defender and a nightmare for the opposition on a fast break. But that’s where is stops. He is notorious for his gigantic ego. Rondo is always in the referees grill arguing with every call or attempting to intimidate them. He has been suspended on numerous occasions for incidents with referees – Rondo has even made physical contact an official.
Contrary to what you might think, Rondo has been labeled as uncoachable. Doc Rivers, a former Celtics coach, has publicly noted that Rondo isn’t a fan of being told what to do – he has already had a feud with Rick Carslile – and wants to do his own thing.
When Ray Allen jumped ship and joined the Miami Heat, his poor relationship with Rajon Rondo was big factor in his decision. Allen supposedly never got on with Rondo and in hindsight it was quite obvious.
Rondo’s mindset is mind-boggling. His change is mentality is astounding, one night he’ll decide to be aggressive but then Rondo becomes completely passive. It definitely shows up in his numbers – they continually fluctuate. Rondo was thought to have an improved jump shot but that has flipped on its head. He is part of the 30, 30 club; 30% from the line, 30% from downtown.
Rajon Rondo is a star talent but has a terrible attitude and his fluctuating play-style would drive a coach to insanity. He is a cancer. New York is striving to make a championship and having a guy who constantly fights with not only officials but coaches and teammates too is not a recipe for success. New York should pass on Rondo as a point, or lead, guard needs to play with the same mindset each and every night. There are still numerous point guards who fit in with what the Knicks are trying to do available in free agency.
Kevin Love is a deadeye from behind the ark and one of the NBA’s better rebounders, both offensively and defensively but aside from that he doesn’t offer much. Defensively he is poor and offensively he has a tendency to just hoist up three after three. He also has a poor attitude and expects everything to be done for him. Kevin Love forced his way out of Minnesota and into Cleveland but his problems haven’t stopped.
He wanted to win so he joined Kyrie Irving and LeBron James. Since arriving in Cleveland he has not stopped whining about how he’s not getting his shots, that he’s not getting enough touches and that he doesn’t fit in.
One of the bigger issues with Love is that he does not discuss his grievances with his teammates or his coaches but instead through the media. Love always makes a big deal out of nothing and spilling his whole story to the media without discussing it with his camp can agitate fellow players.
Kevin Love still hasn’t learnt the lesson that you can’t always get what you want and you can’t always have the best of both worlds. He wanted to win so he whined, and whined some more until he was eventually traded to a contender. Love currently sits second in the Eastern Conference with a record of 43-26. You would think that he’d be over the moon, but no, he isn’t. Love has continually complained, like I said before, about not getting enough shots or enough touches. Love isn’t pleased about being the third or fourth option for the Cavaliers offensively.
Love shoots threes and rebounds and that is it. He has no versatility. Love is a horrible defender and he rarely puts in any effort at all on the end. On the offensive end Love has a mediocre post game and his inability to jump makes him an easy cover when it is cluttered down low. In an ideal world the triangle requires a big that can pass. Love’s outlet and full-court passes are incredible but when it boils down to a half-court set he is hardly a threat.
It seems that there is no pleasing him. Love complains about touches when all he ever wanted was a ring. Despite his three point shooting and rebounding Love has a lack of defensive skills, an area that New York is focusing on. His one-dimensional offensive skill set and his constant tantrums similar to a 3-year-old make Love a less attractive target.
Phil Jackson and the Knicks want winners, not whiners.
Josh Smith has always been one of those players ‘on the verge’ but he is yet to make it over the hump. Smith has been on the cusp of becoming an All-Star but has never quite made it. Smith is talented on both ends of the floor but he also has many issues both on and off the court. Do you think Josh Smith will ever realise that he can’t shoot? He seems to be content with just sitting beyond the arc and hoisting up threes even though he’s a terrible shooter. He’s basically a truck inside but Smith never goes there!
Smith has been constantly ridiculed for his shot selection and rightly so. Rather than looking for easy buckets – low post, 15 footers, lay-ups, and dunks – he fires at will outside of his range. Smith also has an incredibly short tempter, when he feels like he doesn’t get calls he erupts in a fit of rage toward the referee. It’s not rare for him to pick up a technical or even getting thrown out. Another side of that is that Smith complains all the way up the court rather than getting back on defense.
Smith doesn’t rub up well with his teammates or coaches, he, like Kevin Love, blabs to the media rather than talking inside of his team’s circle. For around three season Smith attempted to leave Atlanta but was never satisfied by any of the teams interested. We’ve all seen him enter this mood of laziness; he doesn’t get back on defense, he doesn’t take good shots, he tells the world of his problems but not his teammates and coaches and looses all hope and gets frustrated on weekly, or monthly basis.
Smith is all muscle but no hustle. He has no control and no finesse. Smith has a poor attitude and he is deluded by what he thinks he can do offensively. He cannot shoot and Smith is a poor passer. Smith was once a premier defender but his lack of effort and work-ethic definitely reflects in his play.
A poor attitude and anger issues along with a skill-set that is highly inconsistent makes Smith an unattractive target. Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks do not need this cancer that is Josh Smith.
Roy Hibbert is somehow earning close to $15 million this season. Three years ago Hibbert was considered to be one of the premier big men in the NBA but in the past two seasons his production has completely disappeared. Hibbert once was a force to be reckoned with inside, blocking and changing many shots as well as collecting many rebounds. Hibbert is supposed to be a defensive big but he doesn’t have an identity nowadays.
The common theme you can see here is attitude issues and you guessed it, Hibbert has those too. He, alike to the players above, complains and complains some more to the whole wide world rather than fixing the issue without the world knowing there was one. Hibbert is notorious for coming up for some laughable excuses.
Last season Hibbert said he lost all of his confidence when Larry Bird signed Andrew Bynum. Bynum played a total of two games. There was also talk that his play dropped of due to some of his teammates bullying him which is far-fetched.
Offensively Hibbert really only makes baby hook shots, lay-ups and dunks. His skill set has diminished. Hibbert is supposed to be a defensive big, which is now laughable. When New York last traveled to Indianapolis, Hibbert was playing such poor defense on Andrea Bargnani that Frank Vogel had to switch Luis Scola, who is known to play no defense whatsoever, onto Bargnani.
The 3 seasons prior to the 2014 all-star break is where Roy Hibbert earned his pay. He was an elite defensive big man and a very legitimate rim protected however his skills has evaporated into thin air. On the offensive end Hibbert’s post-game has become erratic and hard to watch. His jump-shooting ability has also dropped off. Hibbert is like Andrea Bargnani; a 7 footer that cannot rebound.
The former Hoya seems to have regressed and lost a large bulk of his confidence. Due to a poor attitudes both on and off the court couples with a slowly-dying skill set make the him a player to steer clear of.
Somehow Hibbert is charging $15 million for his services and the Knicks should have learnt by now from former mistakes to no longer overpay scrubs.
Other notable names; Reggie Jackson, Lou Williams, Brook Lopez, Eric Gordon, Marcus Thornton.
The 2015 free agent class is staked with talent but big names do not always result is championship teams or championship rings. Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks need to build team chemistry and the best way to do so is to find and sign players who can excel and help the Knicks in the system that Derek Fisher is running offensively and defensively.