New York Knicks Rumors: Top Candidates for NY to Pursue on Open Market

Sammy SucuSenior Analyst IMarch 8, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24:  Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics drives against Amar'e Stoudemire #1 and Shawne Williams #3 of the New York Knicks in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

The New York Knicks need to make a free agent acquisition in order to solidify its core.

The Knicks have one of the better starting lineups in the NBA—but they need more help off the bench. Added depth to the Knicks' roster would more than likely put them over as one of the top five teams in the NBA.

Luckily for the 'Knickerbockers, there is plenty of great talent in the free agent class this offseason—especially at the forward position. The Knicks need depth at all positions and should look to sign two to three key players to relieve their starters. Here are some players that could really help the Knicks out.

Kevin Garnett

Garnett would not only strengthen the Knicks' depth in the front court, but he will provide the Knicks with some much needed veteran experience.

'KG has been one of the most dominant players throughout his NBA career, but lately he has looked like a shadow of his former self. This does not mean that he has nothing left in the tank. Garnett would be able to provide any team with veteran knowledge and leadership—especially for a young team who desperately needs the guidance of a respected veteran.

Garnett would be able to relieve Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire if they ever go down with an injury. Considering that both Chandler and Stoudemire are injury prone, the Knicks would be wise to pursue someone talented enough to keep the team playing at a high level when either one is out of the lineup.

Garnett has also been one of the better defenders in NBA history. Even at age 35, Garnett is still able to put a body on anyone that is trying to get in the paint and score. The Knicks desperately need more defensive help, and Garnett would definitely provide it.

With the addition of Garnett and his emotional leadership, the Knicks would push themselves further into the playoffs and become a thorn in the side of the Miami Heat.

O.J. Mayo

If the Knicks pursued Mayo and signed him to a contract then New York would have the best starting five in the NBA—by far.

Mayo is one of the most underrated players in the league. His talents go unnoticed because he is in a small market like Memphis, and he has to share shots with Rudy Gay and Mike Conley. Although it may be the same in New York—because of Jeremy Lin and Carmelo Anthony—Mayo would still earn more media attention playing in New York.

In Mayo’s four-year career, he has averaged 15.4 points per game. He is a great scorer who could provide another scoring option for New York.

The Knicks will get more out of Mayo then the Grizzlies have because he will have an easier time finding open shots with so much talent around him. Nothing makes a great shooter happier than an open shot, and in New York, Mayo will have plenty of them.

Jamal Crawford

If the Knicks want to solidify their bench then they should take a long, hard look at Jamal Crawford.

Crawford is not technically a free agent next year, but he has a player option for the 2012-2013 season. According to Sports Illustrated's Sam Amnick, Crawford “fully intends to decline player option”.

Unique challenges aside, Crawford has plenty to be pleased with. He's enjoying the winning, and it's nice being close to his native Seattle while also being just far enough away so as to avoid the hassles that come with playing in your hometown. He isn't alone when it comes to playing for a new contract, either. The Blazers could have as many as nine players become free agents next summer (chief among them Wallace, Raymond Felton, Nicolas Batum, Greg Oden and Marcus Camby).

Crawford's deal is for two years and $10.2 million combined, but the second season is a player option and he fully intends on retesting the market in the summer. Until then, he'll keep refining his role with this group.

If Crawford does decline the option, the Knicks should pursue him. Crawford has been a palpable spark off the bench on any team he has played for. A combination of Crawford and Smith off the bench will amount to enough energy to power the flux capacitor.

Young teams usually thrive off of energizing play, and Crawford will bring enough of that to make the Knicks a title contender.

The Knicks need to make some adjustments in order to solidify a championship roster. With the addition of two of the three mentioned—or similar players—the Knicks would undoubtedly become a force to be reckoned with in the NBA. 


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