New York Knicks: Ranking the Importance of Free Agents the Knicks May Bring Back

Adam FriedgoodContributor IIIMay 14, 2012

New York Knicks: Ranking the Importance of Free Agents the Knicks May Bring Back

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    The 2011-2012 season has officially come to a close for the New York Knicks and this upcoming offseason is set to be an extremely difficult one for the team. They have numerous important pieces about to become free agents that they will certainly want back for 2013 and beyond.

    Here are the rankings for which free agents the Knicks need to re-sign this offseason based on how important they are to the team.

7. Baron Davis

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    2011-2012 Statistics: 7.8 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 3.3 APG

    Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent


    The Baron Davis experiment didn’t go quite as planned for the Knicks.

    Not only did he begin and end his Knicks’ career on the injured list, but he also had 76 turnovers in only 29 games with the team.

    The Knicks do need to re-sign at least one point guard this offseason, but Davis just isn’t the guy.

    Hopefully he will have a speedy recovery from his latest knee injury, but it appears this one may lead to the end of Davis’ 13-year career. 

6. Jared Jeffries

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    2011-2012 Statistics: 0.4 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 0.0 APG

    Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent


    Jared Jeffries just completed his second stint with the New York Knicks.

    He played some great defense this season at times, but was riddled with injuries all year long and was forced to miss 27 games because of it.

    Jeffries also just announced that he will undergo knee surgery this offseason, which may drastically reduce his mobility, as well as his value come free agency.

    Don’t expect to see him on the Knicks’ roster when the upcoming season begins.

5. Mike Bibby

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    2011-2012 Statistics: 5.4 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.6 APG

    Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent


    Mike Bibby is another Knicks point guard who will become a free agent after this season.

    He had an awful year though, shooting a career low 28.2 percent from the field. It was the first time in his 14-year career that he shot under 40 percent in a season.

    Even with these poor numbers, coach Mike Woodson trusts Bibby and will likely bring him back provided he is willing to sign the Veterans Minimum contract and accept the role of third-string point guard.

4. Steve Novak

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    2011-2012 Statistics: 8.8 PPG, 1.9 RPG, .472 3PT%

    Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent


    Steve Novak came out of nowhere this year to lead the Knicks and the rest of the NBA in three-point shooting.

    Unfortunately, shooting is really all Novak can do well. He is a huge liability on defense and doesn’t go after rebounds at all, grabbing only 1.9 boards per game even though he’s 6’10”.

    Any team in the league can use a shooter coming off the bench with Novak’s talent, so expect him to be highly sought in the offseason. Novak has made it very clear how much he loves New York and how badly he wants to return to the team next season, so the Knicks should be the favorites to land him during free agency.

3. Landry Fields

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    2011-2012 Statistics: 8.8 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.6 APG

    Contract Status: Restricted Free Agent


    After an extremely impressive start to his NBA career, Landry Fields just hasn’t been the same since the Knicks acquired Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets last season.

    All of his shooting and rebounding statistics have declined from his rookie season. His role with the team has had the same decline, leading many to believe the Knicks won’t be willing to match an offer for the restricted free agent.

    The Knicks should re-sign Fields since I believe he will overcome his sophomore slump and learn how to play with Melo after a full offseason training camp. It appears though, that they have some strong competition.

2. J.R. Smith

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    2011-2012 Statistics: 12.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.4 APG

    Contract Status: Player Option


    Since J.R. Smith has a player option in his contract for next season, it’s really not up to the Knicks whether he will return next season or not.

    I assume the team would want Smith back since he was a huge spark off the bench with his scoring and defense. Smith has stated numerous times how much he loves playing in NY, but it wouldn’t be the smartest decision for him financially to return.

    With his player option, Smith is set to make only $2.5 million next season. If he becomes a free agent, Smith will most likely be offered more than that for multiple years.

    Hopefully J.R. Smith’s love for New York is greater than his love for money, as the New York Post is reporting. 

1. Jeremy Lin

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    2011-2012 Statistics: 14.6 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 6.2 APG

    Contract Status: Restricted Free Agent


    Jeremy Lin is by far the most important free agent on the Knicks' roster and since he’s restricted, the Knicks need to retain him at all costs. However, mixed reports have been coming out recently about whether Lin will return to New York next season.

    Earlier in the week, Coach Woodson stated how much he loves Lin running the point for the Knicks and claimed he will definitely return next season. 

    Lin later responded to that statement by saying, “I love the Knicks, but at the same time it’s a business. Personally, I think it’d be great if I could come back, but crazy things happen.”

    The Knicks can’t possibly be foolish enough to let the “Lin-Sanity” leave NY for nothing, but they certainly will have tons of competition for him.