The New York Knicks are emerging as the front-runners to land free agents Greg Monroe and Arron Afflalo, formerly of the Detroit Pistons and Portland Trail Blazers, respectively. Phil Jackson’s organization is expected to shell out a maximum offer to Monroe while offering around $12 million annually for Afflalo.
“For months, the Knicks and rival executives have believed that New York is the likely destination for Detroit free agent forward Greg Monroe, and now it appears that Afflalo is the most likey target to potentially join him with Carmelo Anthony in New York,” Adrian Wojnarowski said in his latest report for Yahoo.
Stan Van Gundy, Pistons president and head coach, recently proclaimed the organization has not fully closed its doors on a Monroe re-signing. The young center-forward played his entire career with the team, which selected him with the No. 7 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
Afflalo, is a 30-year-old journeyman who had stops with the Pistons, Orlando Mgic, Denver Nuggets (twice) and Trail Blazers, which acquired the 11 points-per-game scorer from the Nuggets before this year’s trade deadline. The Blazers are also keen on retaining the services of the wingman given the uncertainty of the Achilles heel of starting shooting guard Wesley Matthews. Afflalo nursed a strained shoulder during the team’s first-round playoff loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, but has now fully recuperated.
The Knicks hope to build a formidable lineup for next season after suffering through one of the worst seasons in team history last year. At this year's NBA Draft, Jackson used the No. 4 overall pick to take Latvian prospect Kristaps Porzingis, whose development will coincide with the final prime years of Carmelo Anthony, who was signed to a $124 million extension last summer.
There were reports that Anthony was disappointed with the selection of Porzingis, so adding veterans such as Afflalo and Monroe might appease the team's star. Anthony also expressed discontent with the trade of Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Atlanta Hawks.