New York Knicks: Best Available Free-Agent Targets Left for Team
The New York Knicks only have nine players on their current roster but are over the cap and already used their mid-level exception on Jason Kidd. This means they only have the ability to fill up the remaining roster sports with minimum contract players.
Some of these minimum contract deals will be with veterans who are coming to the end of their career, while others will be younger players who just haven’t found their place in the NBA yet.
The Knicks need to add a shooting guard to their roster who can play while Iman Shumpert is recovering from his ACL injury. They also can use a power forward who can substitute in for Amar’e Stoudemire when he needs a break.
Here are some of the best available free agents that may be willing to sign for the minimum contract with the Knicks.
Daniel Orton is a big man the Knicks can get for cheap who never really lived up to his potential.
After being the third-highest rated center coming out of high school according to Rivals.com, Orton went on to the University of Kentucky where he only played in 13.2 minutes per game behind Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins.
During his rookie season in the league, Orton was sent down to the D-League where he suffered a season-ending knee injury in only his second game. Last season, Orton participated in only 16 games but started two when Glen Davis and Dwight Howard were both out with injuries.
The Knicks should consider signing Daniel Orton since he is still only 21 years old and could finally have a breakout season.
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This isn’t the biggest need the Knicks have, but they should bring in a third point guard since Jeremy Lin is coming off knee surgery and his back-up, Jason Kidd, is 39 years old.
According to FOX Sports’ Chris Tomasson, the Knicks are looking to sign Mike James to fill this role.
Head coach Mike Woodson has previous experience coaching James. Woodson was an assistant coach with the Detroit Pistons back in 2004 when James backed-up Chauncey Billups and the Pistons won the NBA championship.
If the Knicks add Mike James, they will be getting another veteran leader who has much experience playing with a new team and coming off the bench.
Most people expect Jared Jeffries to be back with the Knicks next season since he has expressed his interest in staying in New York and he said the team has told him they are interested in bringing him back.
Jeffries spoke with ESPN New York’s Jared Zwerling over the phone recently and had this to say about his future with the team:
"I know that the Knicks are interested. I love New York. I'm still proud that I've been part of back-to-back playoffs. I feel like we made improvements this year as a team. That's my ultimate goal. I want to improve, I want to get better. I want to be on a winning team, and I think we have a chance to do that. I feel like I've been through so much and we've been so close. I want to do as much as I can to get better."
If the Knicks can have Tyson Chandler, Marcus Camby and Jared Jeffries all roaming the paint on defense, the Knicks will be very hard to score on inside.
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The Philadelphia 76ers had the option of offering Jodie Meeks a Qualifying Offer and have him return to Philadelphia next season but declined it, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Meeks started 114 games at shooting guard for the Sixers over the past two seasons and was a very efficient scorer during this time.
As a member of the 76ers, Meeks averaged just under 10 points per game and shot over 38 percent from three-point range. He was also a fantastic free-throw shooter, shooting 90.6 percent from the line last season.
The Knicks need to sign a combo guard who can play both shooting guard while Shumpert is injured and point guard in case of an injury to Lin or Kidd. Meeks would be the perfect option for the Knicks and might be willing to sign for the minimum contract to play with a championship contender.
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The Knicks attempted to acquire Kenyon Martin last season when he came back from China midseason and should now be in contention for his services once again. The Knicks need a suitable power forward on their bench who can step in and start if the injury prone Amar’e Stoudemire goes down once again.
Like the addition of Camby, adding Martin to the bench would drastically improve the team’s rebounding and defense.
Kenyon Martin hasn’t received much interest from any team so far this offseason and might eventually sign a veteran’s minimum contract with a team he feels can reach the championship. Having Jason Kidd on the roster, with whom Martin went to back-to-back NBA Finals, cold help influence this move to the Knicks.