NBA free agency begins tomorrow. And while the New York Knicks will likely not be top players, they will and should be active and aggressive in their quest to assemble an actual NBA roster. Rumors are beginning to swirl and it’s anyone’s guess as to who they will actually pursue. I have no idea what will happen, but since I was not upset with the draft results, I’m almost positive free agency will be a big letdown (almost).
Since no one updates these these things regularly enough, I have put together my own salary analysis for the Knicks below.
Galloway’s contract is partially guaranteed so he will definitely be on the roster for this upcoming season. That gives the Knicks six players under contract and just about under $30 million of cap space to work with. If you’re wondering how I came up with the rookie salaries, I worked it out from here. The listed salaries for those two will likely not be their exact figures, but they will be close enough.
Another option to gain cap space is to use the stretch provision on Jose Calderon. Tommy Beer wrote a nice piece on how it could help the Knicks here. Per Basketball Insiders:
If the player’s salary payments are spread-out using the stretch provision, the team may elect to stretch the salary cap charge to match. For example, if two seasons remain on the player’s contract when he is waived, and the payment is spread-out over five years per the stretch provision, then the team may elect to spread-out the salary cap hit over those same five years.
Calderon is set to earn $15,111,239 over the next two seasons. By utilizing the stretch provision before August 31, the Knicks could stretch out his salary to $3,022,248 a season over the next five seasons. However, I would have to imagine Phil will desperately try to trade Calderon before he considers using the provision.
With many of the free agents who are anticipating a max contract, several starting max salaries (like Aldridge or Love) will begin around $19 million. I would guess it’s not likely for the Knicks to extend the qualifying offer to Wear (very slim chance the Knicks extend that QO to Shved, but there are rumors circulating he will be brought back along with Jason Smith), but they still have less salary space than desired for another max contract on the roster. On the other hand, with the rapid spike of the NBA salary it’s not out of the question (though you might want to reconsider when it comes to certain players, such as Greg Monroe).
Seriously, while Greg Monroe would be a good fit for the triangle because of of his solid post play and passing ability (despite posting a 0.95 Assist/Turnover ratio this past season), I just can’t fathom handing a max contract to a big man who can’t defend or stretch the floor.
Of all players who played in at least 40 games and had at least 5.0 opponent FGA per game at the rim, Greg Monroe surrendered the seventh highest opponent FG%. Of the 72 players that met the criteria in that last statistic, Greg Monroe was 61st in blocks with 34 total (despite having the 16th highest minutes played per game).
If the Knicks are going to pay top dollar for a big man, I would rather someone with some defensive prowess. Melo still is and should be the focal point of the offense, but if we’re being honest he is a massive liability on the defensive end. I think moving him to the 4 makes sense because it takes some of the wear off his legs and hides him on defense a bit more, but the Knicks need plus defenders. Greg Monroe’s offense doesn’t do it for me.
Afflalo is a more interesting prospect. He’s considered a good “3 and D” guy, but he is coming off some up-and-down seasons on a bad Orlando team and an underwhelming stint with the Trailblazers. He shot 35% from beyond the arc last season, but he did hit 37% of his catch & shoot 3’s. Though in his defense (pun intended!), opponents shot under 33% on 3-pointers when guarded by Affalo. He is reportedly seeking a deal worth around $12 million a year for three seasons. Signing Greg Monroe to a max deal and giving Afflalo his desired asking price is a classic NBA panic scenario. A team strikes out on the top tier free agents and then overpays for the next group to compensate for the loss. I usually don’t agree with Jason Mcintyre, but he’s absolutely right about how the Knicks should approach this situation.
The Knicks have also been linked to DeAndre Jordan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, Robin Lopez, Danny Green, Wes Matthews, Jeremy Lin (huh?), Caron Butler among others.
Realistic players I would like to see considered: DANNY GREEN (like Afflalo except younger and better), Kosta Koufos, Branden Wright, Robin Lopez, Khris Middleton, Mirza Teletovic (bargain bin), Al Farouq Aminu, Ed Davis, Wes Matthews (for the right price), Paul Millsap, Jae Crowder, Lou Williams, and Cory Joseph.
I’m rushing to post this before I leave for my soccer game. It could be chaotic, but hopefully in a good way.