The New York Knicks have already gotten off to a good start of their upcoming season by hiring coach David Fizdale after his stint with the Memphis Grizzlies, trying to go find a new identity and finally put an end to the triangle offense era at the Garden.
Nonetheless, the Knicks’ current roster isn’t really encouraging, even with the 9th overall pick of this years’ Draft heading towards the Big Apple, and it feels like they need to pull some strings and part ways with a couple players in order to kick-start the dawn of the Fizdale era.
Gladly for them, it’s never too early to start planning ahead to the future, and even though they’re unlikely to contend for a playoff spot in this upcoming campaign with Kristaps Porzingis out for quite a long time, they can build their new roster around their young players and build a project for years to come.
Today, we’re going to let you know about the top 5 moves the Knicks need to do during the summer.
5. Trade Courtney Lee, Joakim Noah and Lance Thomas
The New York Knicks are paying a lot of money to this trio of veterans (a combined $37.903.430 for the upcoming campaign, and neither of them is actually capable of bringing anything to the table. Lee hasn’t looked as sharp on defense or beyond the arc, Thomas is a tweener that gets outhustled on a nightly basis, and Noah isn’t part of the team’s rotation.
Courtney Lee may have several takers due to his 3 and D expertise, while Thomas would need to be paired with a 2nd round pick in order to find a suitable deal for him. As for Noah, the most logical choice would be to just agree to a buyout.
4. Start Frank Ntilikina
Frank Ntilikina’s era at the Madison Square Garden didn’t get off to a very good start, with the European prospect showing glimpses of greatness in the defensive end and showing a lot of grit, but not having enough playing time to actually prove his worth and learn through his mistakes in the offensive end.
Fizdale has already stated that he plans to make the most of Emmanuel Mudiay, but even though, this team needs to lean in Ntilikina as their starting point guard going forward, as he’s still pretty raw but has a lot of upside despite what his rookie averages of may tell you
3. Sign Avery Bradley
Avery Bradley is one of this year’s most intriguing free agents, as we all saw what he was capable of doing in both sides of the hardwood under Brad Stevens, but he didn’t look nearly half as sharp on defense with the Detroit Pistons or the Los Angeles Clippers. Still, the upside’s clearly there.
Bradley’s a versatile scorer and has the ability to guard multiple positions, and seems like the kind of guy that could thrive under Fizdale’s command with all the grit and grind he puts on a nightly basis. Nonetheless, they should avoid handing him a max contract offer
2. Sign Julius Randle
The Los Angeles Lakers aren’t going to match any high bids for Julius Randle this summer in order to get as much salary off their books as they can to pursue Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James and some reports even state that DeMarcus Cousins, so the Knicks should definitely make a huge push at him.
A Randle-Porzingis frontcourt would be quite dynamic, with Kristaps playing at the PF spot on offense and the C on defense, and Randle has the kind of upside to become one of the league’s top-notch scorers and rebounders due to his strength and hustle.
Of course, Randle is alternative if Enes Kanter decides to reject the player option. Otherwise, maybe is better to offer a long-term contract to Julius Randle because he could become an All-Star player on the Eastern Conference.
1. Don’t Overpay Veterans
Porzingis is quite unlikely to suit up for most of the upcoming campaign and with the Knicks young core and most veterans heading out the door, it would be wise for them to just let them grow through their mistake and learn how to play under Fizdale’s system, tanking their way through the upcoming campaign.
The Knicks have a vast history of overpaying for veteran second-tier players and truth to be told, they simply don’t stand a chance signing any of the top-notch free agents of this class, so they should definitely avoid offering max deals to players that aren’t going to be able to live up to the hype, especially on a rebuilding team.