The New York Knicks are reportedly interested in San Antonio Spurs restricted free agent Jonathon Simmons.
On Monday, Ian Begley of ESPN reported New York "reached out" to Simmons, citing league sources. According to Begley, the wingman "is in active talks with two teams."
This comes after Marc Stein of ESPN reported Friday the Spurs were "preparing an offer" for Simmons at around $9 million a year.
However, the Knicks—or any other team willing to make an offer for Simmons—may force San Antonio to pay in order to match a higher offer sheet. Begley mentioned two teams in active talks, and Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times previously noted the Los Angeles Clippers were set for a meeting with Simmons.
The Spurs have an advantage outside of Simmons' restricted status because of the familiarity in place. He has never played for another NBA team and appeared to turn the corner during San Antonio's run to the Western Conference Finals as someone set for a larger role with players such as 35-year-old Tony Parker and soon-to-be 32-year-old LaMarcus Aldridge on the wrong side of their primes.
Simmons scored in double figures in the Spurs' last seven playoff games, including a 22-point explosion against the Golden State Warriors, and averaged 10.5 points a night throughout the postseason—an improvement on his 6.2 tally during the regular season.
Outside of the scoring potential, he would provide the Knicks with a critical perimeter defender after they finished an abysmal 25th in the league in defensive rating in 2016-17, per NBA.com. Opponents shot 7.4 percent worse than their normal averages from three-point range and 5.0 percent worse from outside 15 feet when Simmons defended them this past season, per NBA.com.
He is also just 27 years old and could help facilitate a rebuild for New York after it failed to reach the playoffs the last four seasons.