NY Knicks Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Team This Offseason

Paul Knepper@@paulieknepContributor IIIJune 20, 2014

NY Knicks Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Team This Offseason

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    New York Knicks president Phil Jackson is set to begin reshaping a roster that vastly underachieved this past season. His task is complicated by the team’s minimal financial flexibility, dearth of assets and the pending free agency of his star player, combined with a desire to maintain ample salary-cap space for 2015.

    Jackson and his staff’s first order of business is to attempt to retain Carmelo Anthony. There have been mixed reports about Anthony’s desire to remain with the Knicks and rumors regarding other potential destinations for the seven-time All-Star are swirling.

    Management will monitor the status of other star players who may be available via trade or free agency in 2015, such as Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo. They must consider under what circumstances they would be willing to part with Tyson Chandler and his expiring contract and explore the trade market for Raymond Felton and J.R. Smith.

    It is also imperative for the Knicks front office to address New York’s point guard situation. Felton was ineffective on both ends of the floor last season, and there are several potential replacements available on the free-agent market.

Carmelo Anthony Is Leaning Toward Leaving the Knicks

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    Carmelo Anthony spoke positively about his recent sit-down with Phil Jackson. "It was a great meeting with Phil. It went well," he told reporters, via Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. Anthony said, "I like what Phil is doing," in reference to the hiring of Derek Fisher as coach, via Begley.

    However, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported that Carmelo is leaning toward leaving the Knicks as a free agent this summer. According to Wojnarowski, Anthony is concerned about Jackson's ability to quickly reshape the Knicks into a championship contender. 

    Jackson indicated that he asked Anthony, who has an opt-out clause in his contract, to hold off on free agency until 2015, when the Knicks will have the cap space to pair him with another superstar, via Al Iannazzone of Newsday.com. But according to Ian Begley, Anthony still intends to become a free agent this summer. 

    The Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets have emerged as the front-runners for Carmelo's services, via Wojnarowski. ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein reported that the Miami Heat are also preparing to make a run at Anthony. "That's a pipe dream," Heat team president Pat Riley told reporters, via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com. "But everyone thought 2010 was a pipe dream."  

The Golden State Warriors Are Interested in Tyson Chandler

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    Tyson Chandler is one of the few valuable trade assets on the Knicks roster. The starting center is still one of the better defensive big men in the game, comes with a championship pedigree and is entering the final year of his contract.

    Stephen A. Smith said on ESPN Radio that the Golden State Warriors are willing to trade Harrison Barnes and former Knick David Lee for Tyson Chandler, via Tommy Beer of Basketballinsiders.com. But it is highly unlikely that Phil Jackson would be willing to make that deal.

    Barnes is an intriguing option. Despite a disappointing second season, the former Tar Heel has a high upside and is on his rookie contract. The problem is Lee's contract, which is scheduled to pay him $15.5 million in 2015-16. That would interfere with the Knicks' plans to be a major player in the 2015 free-agent market and is almost certainly a deal-breaker. 

    If the Knicks trade Chandler, it will be to free up more cap space for 2015 (possibly by including Raymond Felton in the deal) or to add draft picks and/or youngsters to build around. 

The Knicks Are Interested in San Antonio Spurs Guard Patty Mills

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    The Knicks would like to upgrade the point guard position this summer, though, with just the mini mid-level exception ($3.2) to spend, their options are limited. According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, one player on the team's radar is San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills. 

    He is coming off a stellar postseason, which included a 14-point performance in the third quarter of the decisive game of the Spurs' thrashing of the Miami Heat in the Finals. The Aussie connected on 40.5 percent of his three-point attempts in the playoffs.

    Mills will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He made $1.3 million last season and should be in line for a significant raise. San Antonio has generally not been willing to shell out money to retain backups in the past, and New York could offer him the opportunity to start.

    Mills could thrive in the triangle offense, which does not place a premium on traditional point guards. His pesky defense would also address one of New York’s major weaknesses from this past season. The Knicks better hope that he did not shoot himself out of their price range in the Finals.  

Phil Jackson Is Looking to Acquire a Draft Pick

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    The Knicks would like to add some young building blocks as they retool after a disappointing 2013-14 campaign. Unfortunately, they do not own a pick in the June 26 draft. 

    According to Adam Zagoria of SNY, Phil Jackson is shopping for a first-round pick. In order to secure one via trade, New York would likely have to part with one of their young shooting guards, Tim Hardaway Jr. or Iman Shumpert.

    Another possibility is for the Knicks to buy a pick. Under the collective bargaining agreement, teams have a "maximum annual cash limit" of $3.2 million to spend on transactions, via CBA expert Larry Coon.

    Jackson raised the possibility of buying a pick at a press conference in May, via Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. He conceded that purchasing a first-round pick in what is considered by many basketball insiders to be the deepest draft in years would be nearly "impossible" and that a second-round pick is more likely, via Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal.

Kevin Love Is Intrigued by the Idea of Playing for the Knicks

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    All-Star forward Kevin Love recently expressed interest in the Knicks during an interview with ESPN's SportsNation.

    "I think anytime you have Phil Jackson involved with any organization, you're going to definitely look at it," Love said, via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com. “And you know it's very intriguing. The Knicks are a place where I think anybody would like to go.”  

    Love informed the Minnesota Timberwolves that he intends to become an unrestricted free agent next summer and has no interest in remaining with the team, via Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. 

    New York should have plenty of cap space to pursue Love if he hits the free-agent market next summer, though it would be shocking if the Timberwolves do not trade him before then. Unfortunately, the Knicks do not have the draft picks or young talent necessary to pique Minnesota’s interest.

    The Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls have engaged the Timberwolves in trade talks and are considered the leading candidates to acquire Love, via Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The Warriors are reportedly willing to part with shooting guard Klay Thompson, via Stein, which could seal the deal.