New York Knicks: Power Ranking the Team's 5 Biggest Needs This Offseason
The Knicks have a few needs that must be taken care of this offseason if they want to have a more successful season next year than they did this year.
A few ways they can fill these needs is via free agency, trades or the draft.
If the Knicks plug the few holes they have and improve their team chemistry, the team will be competing with the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat for the best record in the East, rather than with the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks for just the final spot in the playoffs.
Here are the five biggest needs the Knicks need to address this offseason.
5. Trade into the First Round of the Draft
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This year’s draft is one of the deepest drafts in recent history. There will definitely be players selected late in the first round that will be starters and possibly even All-Stars in the future.
Unfortunately, the Knicks only own their second-round pick, No. 48. The Knicks need to find a way to trade into the end of the first round, like they did when they got Toney Douglas from the Los Angeles Lakers back in 2009, in order to add another reserve player to the roster for cheap.
The Knicks can really use another point guard, as Douglas has since fallen out of the lineup, and a reserve big man who can score the ball. Some players that should be available late in the first round are Marquis Teague, John Jenkins and Festus Ezeli.
4. Sign a Veteran Player for Leadership
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Every championship team needs a veteran player who can keep the team focused during the playoffs and teach the younger players what it takes to win an NBA Championship. It doesn’t matter if he’s the team’s star or a reserve player who sees no action.
The Knicks don’t have any of these types of players on their team. The only player on the Knicks’ roster with a championship ring is Tyson Chandler.
The Knicks need to sign a player like Derrick Fisher who has been to the Finals multiple times and has experienced both winning and losing. Even though he’s nowhere near as productive on the court as he once was, adding a player like this would bring some great insight to the team and really help the younger players who have never experienced a real playoff run before.
3. Convince J.R. Smith Not to Opt out of His Contract
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When the Knicks signed J.R. Smith last season, his contract was for $2.5 million for the remainder of the season plus he would have a player-option for this upcoming season at $2.44 million.
After a pretty successful season with the Knicks where he averaged 12.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, Smith will probably be a hot commodity if he hits the free-agent market. The Knicks need to find a way to convince Smith that he needs to stay in New York next season under his current contract, since there is no way they can replace his production for that cheap.
"I want to be here so I'm not really putting too much emphasis on it. I got money now. It's all about winning, and whatever is the best situation and the best fit really. If all things are equal, I'm staying."
He hasn’t made any official decision yet, but it would really benefit the Knicks tremendously if they can convince him to stay.
2. Use Their Mid-Level Exception on a Reserve Big Man
The Knicks desperately need a big man who can come off the bench and be an efficient scorer and defender.
Last season, their two primary big men that they subbed in for Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler were Jared Jeffries and rookie Josh Harrellson, but neither of them really played any significant minutes. Out of the top 10 players in minutes per game for the Knicks last season, STAT and Tyson were the only two players on that list that played power forward or center.
A number of solid big men will be free agents this offseason for the Knicks to offer their MLE contract, $5 million, to. A few players who would really help the Knicks out next season and might consider signing an MLE contract are Jeff Green, Marcus Camby, Kenyon Martin and Carl Landry.
1. Re-Sign Jeremy Lin
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The Knicks MUST re-sign Jeremy Lin at all costs. His emergence completely saved the Knicks’ season last year, turning a dreadful season into one filled with playoff hopes.
Most people, including their general manager Glen Grunwald, believe the Knicks will re-sign Lin to a long-term deal. Newsday’s Al Iannazzone claimed Grunwald said he doesn’t see any scenario where the Knicks don’t keep Lin.
It’s even more likely now that the Knicks will re-sign Lin no matter what since they recently won their Early Bird Rights appeal for Lin and Novak. This means that the Knicks can re-sign both of these players and still have their MLE contract to bring another player to the team.
Expect to see Lin starting at point guard for the Knicks for years to come.