Even with more than a quarter of the 2014-2015 NBA season remaining, the New York Knicks are already looking ahead to 2015-2016, hoping to rebound from what might be the worst year in franchise history. The organization has some key decisions to make, and through free agency and the draft, the Knicks will have a chance to make significant improvements to their roster.
In addition to having a top draft pick, possibly at No.1 overall, the Knicks will have more money to spend than almost any other team this summer. Only the Philadelphia 76ers have less than the just over $32 million that the Knicks are committed to spending next year. Carmelo Anthony, Jose Calderon, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Cleanthony Early are the only current Knicks with guaranteed contracts for next season.
The 2015 free agent class won't be as good as the free agents that were available last year. But even though LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Anthony won’t be on the market, a few of the league’s top players could change teams. The likes of Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge and Marc Gasol are currently in the final year of their deals.
Even though the Knicks might have the money to spend, it will be difficult for them to land a top star, considering the type of season they’ve had and the lack of talent on their roster. However, a few quality free agents are reportedly interested in playing for New York.
Jimmy Butler will be a restricted free agent this summer, with a chance to play for another team. He and the Chicago Bulls were unable to agree on an extension in late October, and according to a recent report, Butler is interested in joining the Knicks this summer.
According to sources Jimmy Butler has two teams in mind this summer and one of them is the New York #Knicks..
â€” Anthony Donahue (@AnthonyMSG) February 27, 2015
Even if Butler ultimately decides that New York is his first choice, he could still end up in Chicago. The Bulls can match any offer the shooting guard gets, and they are likely to do so. Butler has emerged as the most improved player in the league, overtaking Derrick Rose as the Bulls’ best player. In one season, he’s improved his scoring average from 13.1 to 20.2 points per game, his rebounding average from 4.9 to 5.9 per game, and his assist average from 2.6 to 3.3 per game. His ability to play defense and score would make him a perfect addition to the Knicks.
Rajon Rondo might be a more realistic free agent for the Knicks to sign. After being traded from the Boston Celtics to the Dallas Mavericks, Rondo hasn’t performed like a top point guard. He was recently suspended for a game, following a confrontation with head coach Rick Carlisle, and the chances of him re-signing with Dallas seem to be getting worse by the day.
The Sporting News has reported that the Knicks, along with the Los Angeles Lakers, will have a chance at signing Rondo. The point guard position has been New York’s greatest weakness over the past few years, and Rondo is a proven winner. However, there are questions about how he would fit in the triangle offense, and the decline in his offensive performance could prevent the Knicks from offering him a deal that he’s willing to sign.
It’s possible that the Knicks won’t make a big splash in free agency. New York might be better off spending money on a few, lesser free agents, surrounding Anthony with complimentary pieces that can help them contend in a few years. Kevin Durant will lead the 2016 free agent class, and not utilizing all of their cap space this summer might be the smartest move the Knicks can make.