The New York Knicks began the retooling of their organization last off-season. They solidified their starting front court by drafting Kristaps Porzingis and signing Robin Lopez to play alongside Carmelo Anthony. Phil Jackson will most certainly look to continue to improve the roster this summer. When it comes to the Knicks free agent options, there are different avenues that they can go down.
New York Knicks Free Agent Options This Summer
Along with the need to add a backup big man and depth to the bench, the Knicks had the worst back court in the league last season. They may look to upgrade at the point guard position. The issue with that approach though is that the 2017-18 free agency class boasts one of the best collection of point guards maybe ever. The possibility of obtaining one of these playmakers may cause New York to address the other half of their dismal back court. If the Knicks are going to improve their wings then the obvious targets would be Demar DeRozen, Bradley Beal, and Nicolas Batum. Those players will most likely demand max money and may end up just staying with their respective teams. Let us take a look at another set of players that could be the Knicks free agent options.
Allen Crabbe is entering his fourth season in the NBA. The 24 year-old spent his first three seasons in the league as a role player with the Portland Trailblazers. He was drafted with the first pick of the second round in the 2013 Draft. Crabbe’s 6’6, 210 pound frame gives him the ability to play either the shooting guard or small forward position. This past season was his best statistically. He averaged 10.3 points, 1.2 assists, and 2.7 rebounds per game. He shot 45.9 percent from the floor and 39.3 percent from behind the three-point arch. Crabbe played in every game but one while basically doubling his minutes per game from the previous year going from 13.4 to 26.0. In Portland’s eleven playoff games this year, Crabbe shot even better while playing more minutes. In 27.5 minutes, he had a field goal percentage of 52 and a three-point percentage of 42.9. He provides the three-point shooting and perimeter defense that the Knicks were missing last season. The only problem is that Crabbe is a restricted free agent. That means Portland has the ability to match any offer he may sign, and with them building a solid young nucleus they may not be willing to let him walk.
Another potential Knicks free agent option is Evan Fournier. The 6’7, 205 pound shooting guard/small forward is entering his fifth season in the league after spending the last two with the Orlando Magic. In the 79 games that he played in last year, he started in 71 of them posting some of the best numbers of his career. He averaged 15.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 46.2 percent from the floor and 40 percent from the three-point arch. Like Crabbe, Fournier is also a restricted free agent giving Orlando the opportunity to match any offer. The difference with the Magic compared to Portland is they have a potential replacement for Fournier in Mario Herzonja who they drafted with the fifth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Newly hired Magic’s head coach Frank Vogel is reportedly a fan of Herzonja’s ability which means the 24 year-old Fournier could become expendable. If that does happen, he could and up being a productive element to the Jeff Hornacek offense while providing much needed perimeter defense.
The final free agent option listed here is a familiar face to Knicks fans. Jeremy Lin has a player option for next season for $2.2 million. Odds are Lin will opt-out of that deal for a bigger payday. The only dilemma is whether he chooses to re-sign with the Charlotte Hornets or leave to go to a new team for more money and a possible starting job. The 6’3, 200 pound point guard/shooting guard will be entering his seventh NBA season. He will be 28 year-old when the 2016-17 season starts. During his career he has averaged 11.7 points, 4.4 assists, and 2.8 rebounds per game. He has a field goal percentage of 43.2 and a three-point percentage of 34.6. His best season statistically was the one season with the Knicks. The 2011-12 season was known as “Linsanity”. He averaged 14.6 points, 6.2 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. He is not the best shooter of these three options from behind the three-point arch, but he has the best ability to drive and get to the basket. A penetrating guard who has the ability to break down the defense is something that the Knicks did not have on their roster last year.
The question for New York this off-season will be do they want to shell out a bunch of money on one player or use their cap space to bring in a couple quality players to strengthen the roster? Either way, you can pretty much guarantee Phil Jackson will do what he feels is best to continue to build this roster the best way that he sees fit. That will probably be going with free agent options that he can get the biggest bang for his buck.
Jeremy Lin of the Charlotte Hornets dribbles the ball during a game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the 2015 NBA Global Games China pre-season basketball match in Shanghai on October 14, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JOHANNES EISELE (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)