Now that the dust is settled and the New York Knicks have exhausted all of their weapons, we can officially reflect on how special this past season was. They maintained potential to the point where some grew an inkling of hope that the Knicks could sneak their way into a deep playoff run. That feeling likely generated from the relentless attitude that came from the roster New York exceeded expectations, but found themselves underwhelmed.
Entering the offseason, half of the Knicks’ roster is set to become free agents; leaving Julius Randle, Norvel Pelle, Luca Vildoza and draftees being under contract for next season. The possibilities are endless when you consider the amount of free agents and the cap space situation in New York. One would imagine the interest in playing for the team that drastically improved, but it may not be in the Knicks’ best interest to overreact.
5. Re-sign Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson
There is no doubt the Knicks would like to retain as many of their free agents as possible. It will be easier said than done given the performances of many, as they will be expecting a pay raise. This includes Nerlens Noel, who finished third in blocks per game this season. As much as the Knicks would prefer to retain him, he has earned the right to command a payday in free agency. Given New York has a talented player in Mitchell Robinson, he could be the reason the Knicks aren’t as invested in re-signing Noel.
While signing Alec Burks and Reggie Bullock should be on the agenda, the priorities of the Knicks should be to bring back Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson. Both veterans provided much-needed leadership and experience to the team, while prospects in Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickly relished after playing alongside Rose. The chemistry with Head Coach Tom Thibodeau and their selfless attitudes are essential to the team.
4. Shooters, Shooters, Shooters
Most fans would agree that the point guard position needs to be addressed this offseason. The front office should bring in a veteran to adopt the role that Elfrid Payton was intended to maintain, but the ability to create shots and being effective in a catch-and-shoot situation will be essential.
It remains to be seen whether or not the Knicks will bring back both Reggie Bullock and Alec Burks, but the roster needs more players as such. New York is already well-rounded and can score from mid-range, as well as in the paint. Despite drastically improving from beyond the arc this season, they were still very streaky from the outside on a game-to-game basis. Randle proved to be an effective three-point shooter, but as it was proven in the playoffs, he can’t be relied on a full-time basis.
3. Try For Lonzo Ball
The Knicks have the cap space to get this done, and having Lonzo Ball orchestrate the offense would be a sight to see. He would fit in age-wise and would further improve the Knicks foundation for a future free agent to sign with the team.
Ball is reportedly interested in remaining with the New Orleans Pelicans, which is understandable given the core that they have with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. There were some early reports about the Pelicans being reluctant to spent more than $20 million annually to retain Ball. However, the reports were prior to Ball’s strong finish to the season.
2. Look Into Bringing Back Carmelo Anthony
Bringing back Carmelo Anthony to Madison Square Garden isn’t the master plan to bringing the Knicks to a deep playoff run, but he could have a similar impact as Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson brought this past season. Anthony knows what it’s like to be under the bright lights and could bring value to the development of the Knicks.
In addition to his knowledge, Anthony has proven he still has the ability to produce without needing to be the focal point of an offense anymore. Having him come out with the second unit could replace the lost firepower that was missing once Rose developed into a starter. The only question would be whether or not Anthony would have mutual interest in rewriting the negative narrative that was left during his final days with the team.
1. Do NOT Make Any Drastic Changes
Although Anthony did a lot for the Knicks, when they acquired him, the front office set their franchise back for a few years. The temptationton to trade for superstars will be there, but New York needs to learn from their past mistakes.
RJ Barrett is a star in the making at just 20-years old. Immanuel Quickley, 19, has potential to be an important part of the rotation. Luca Vildoza could be a sleeper signing if he is able to move around NBA courts the same way he has in the EuroLeague. This does not mention the rapid development of Obi Toppin and Julius Randle.
The Knicks should attempt to sign a major free agent if possible, but should stray away from blockbuster trades. Talents in Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry may be out of reach, but would both be examples of signings that don’t cripple the franchise for years to come.