Playing Keep or Cut with Each of NY Knicks' Free Agents
Given their current cap situation, the New York Knicks have no choice but to hope the majority of their free agents stick with the team.
The Knicks already have $74 million on the books for next season and they are dependent on some goodwill from the likes of Chris Copeland and J.R Smith.
To quote Rick Pitino, the Knicks wish they were $90 million under the cap and could buy the world. But they can’t, and that’s why it’s imperative that they keep last year’s team together for another run at the playoffs.
That being said, let’s play keep or cut and see if we can weed out any of the players that are set to enter free agency on July 1.
J.R Smith: Keep
During the regular season, there were times when the shooting guard looked like he would be one of the hottest free agents on the market once the season ended.
His horrible postseason performance, where he only shot 33 percent from the field, put an end to that.
Despite his playoff slump, the Knicks must do everything they can to re-sign their second-best scorer. There simply aren't any other players out there who can average 18 PPG that the Knicks can afford. Luckily for them, Smith has made it clear that he wants to stay in New York.
Whether the two sides can agree on a contract offer that satisfies both parties is a different question.
Chris Copeland: Keep
Copeland had quite a few memorable performances in his rookie season, particularly during the end of the regular season when he finished with two 30-plus points games.
The Knicks could make Copeland a restricted free agent by making him a qualifying offer, however, it remains to be seen whether Copeland takes it or not.
So far, the remarks from Copeland’s agent should make the Knicks slightly concerned that the 29-year-old rookie is going to another team for a bigger contract.
Hopefully for the Knicks, the draw of the Big Apple and Madison Square Garden will be enough to keep Copeland with the team.
Pablo Prigioni: Keep
With Jason Kidd retiring, the Knicks can’t afford to lose another veteran point guard. Although Prigioni is a rookie in NBA terms, he’s an experienced ball-handler who brings a lot to the team.
Raymond Felton will still be the Knicks' first option, but if the Argentine can stay healthy he can be expected to take up some of the minutes that are available now that Kidd is gone.
Luckily for the Knicks, a 36-year-old point guard usually doesn’t have a lot of suitors, so it wouldn’t be extraordinary if Prigioni accepted his qualifying offer.
The big question remains whether Prigioni wants to stay in the US. The New York Post reported that the Argentine could be heading to Spain at the urging of his wife, but Prigioni denied this a few days later.
Kenyon Martin: Keep
The Knicks signed Kenyon Martin after injury problems left them with very few options at the 4 and the 5.
Martin came in and played a big part in making sure the Knicks didn’t fall apart but managed to hold on to the No. 2 seed.
Considering that Tyson Chandler suffered through a few injuries and only played 66 games this season, the Knicks need to re-sign players like Martin who can provide some relief for the Knicks’ star center.
James White: Cut
White actually appeared in 57 games this season, however, he played only 7.6 MPG and averaged 2.2 PPG.
In the playoffs, he only appeared in Game 2 and 3 of the Celtics series along with Game 2 of the Indiana Pacers series. Although the Knicks won all those games, White never played more than five minutes a game and can’t take very much of the credit.
Additionally, his contract is not guaranteed, and that’s why the Knicks should be expected to cut White before the end of the month.
He doesn’t bring a lot to the table, and in the situation the Knicks are in, $900,000 is substantial.
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