Knicks Way-Too-Early Possibilities for 2016 Free Agency

Position Player 2015-2016 2016-2017
F Carmelo Anthony $23 million $24.5 million
C Robin Lopez $13.5 million $13.5 million
G Arron Afflalo $8 million $ 8 million
G Jose Calderon $7.4 million $7.7 million
F Derrick Williams $5 million $5 million
F/C Kyle O’Quin $4 million $4 million
F/C Kristaps Porzingis $3.4 million $3.6 million
G Jerian Grant $1.3 million $1.3 million
G Ricky Ledo $945 K $1 million
G Langston Galloway $845 K $980 K
F Cleanthony Early $845K
  Salary $68.245 million $61.58 million
Projected Cap $70 million $90 million
Room to Spend ~$ 1.8 million ~$28.4 million
  • Cap space the New York Knicks will have this season and the next.

Phil Jackson has done a great job “sharing the wealth” amongst free agents this Summer. He upgraded shooting with Afflalo and defense with Lopez. He brought in promising youthful backups with Derrick Williams and Kyle O’Quinn. Some players who contributed to last year’s seventeen win season are gone with Jason Smith going to Orlando and Shane Larkin going to Brooklyn.

The Knicks still have room this year to bring back players like Alexey Shved, Lance Thomas, or Andrea Bargnani, but no word yet who will be back. There are also a lot of eyes on D-League prospect Thanasis Antetokounmpo, brother of the “Greek Freak”, and how he will perform in the summer league. For the most part, however, the Knicks have made the biggest possible splashes in free agency this summer spending most of their money as they are left with just under $2 million dollars. What are some way-too-early predictions for next year?

Assuming Arron Afflalo opts out of his contract, and the cap rises to 90 million the Knicks should have about $28.4 million to spend. This gives the Knicks an opportunity to do many things including signing a star like the very unrealistic target Kevin Durant, since Anthony Davis, a top ten player, took $29 million a year extension for five years this summer. Most holes have been fixed this summer but not with elite talent. For example Arron Afflalo goes against Phil Jackson’s idea of bringing in youth so if he opts out next year the Knicks will be in search of a young and promising starting shooting guard.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Gordon could be an option as he shoots 45 % from beyond the arc.  He is not exactly great on defense but he can be a great long term option for a starting shooting guard and giving Carmelo Anthony a second scorer we can rely on. We can expect someone like him to take about 10 million a year as his numbers have been degrading over the past 3 years going from about 17 points per game to about 13.

A best case scenario for shooting guard would involve current Washington Wizard Bradley Beal. He will likely demand around $15 million but he is definitely worth the money. He averages 1 steal and 3 assists a game which goes along with 15.6 points a game. He is also only 22-years-old. One thing that is a worry is that he is a restricted free agent and he is one of the best players on the Washington squad. If the Knicks can lock him up for four-five years they can get him into his prime and he can be part of a backcourt where he does not live in John Wall’s shadow. If the Wizards fail to make a significant push in the playoffs this year, Beal may come looking to New York.

A cheaper but also a youthful option might be Terrance Ross. There have been a lot of trade rumors circulating around him and if he fails to find a home in which he feels comfortable, he may look to sign somewhere like New York. His shooting fits into the offensive system and his age is a promising factor. He would sign for about $6 million a year, but it can be debatable if he is ready to start for an NBA team. He is going to be a restricted free agent but Toronto will likely not match as they have a crowded backcourt. For a player like him we would have to look how he fairs this season.

Fox Sports
Fox Sports

Brandon Jennings may be a good option to sign next season as a 25-year-old who had a season ending injury which caused the trade for Reggie Jackson who seems to be their franchise point guard.  He is a left handed former 10th overall pick who averages a career 16.6 points and 6.2 assists. He’d be a great fit for New York and cost around $ 12 million a year. He could be a huge difference maker in New York so we would have to bet on the idea of a Jennings- Jackson backcourt in Detroit being a disaster to coax him our way.

This summer was definitely the summer of big-men. With Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns being drafted and DeAndre Jordan, LaMarcus Aldrige, and the Lopez Brothers all being Free Agents. There are some starting options for big men that the Knicks could possibly target such as Joakim Noah although he probably will be more expensive than Phil Jackson wants to pay for a 31-year-old and he is very loyal to his Chicago Bulls team. Other prospects like Roy Hibbert, Al Horford, Nene Hilario, and Al Jefferson will all be demanding big numbers while being on the wrong side of 30. However, we can establish depth in the frontcourt with cheaper big men.

One example is Miles Plumlee. He does not put up big numbers, but he is a solid center. He was a 26th pick in 2012 and never really made a big splash in the NBA, not even a ripple. As the Knicks will probably lose Cole Aldrich this summer Plumlee would definitely be an upgrade.

Best Case Scenario for New York Knicks starting 5 2016-2017:

Brandon Jennings – Bradley Beal – Carmelo Anthony – Kristaps Porzingis – Robin Lopez

Realistic Scenario:

Jose Calderon – Eric Gordon – Carmelo Anthony – Kristaps Porzingis – Robin Lopez         6th man : Arron Afflalo

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