Buying or Selling the Latest NY Knicks Offseason Rumors
The New York Knicks' offseason is in full swing, and despite their cap limitations, there are still plenty of rumors swirling around.
After taking Tim Hardaway Jr. in the NBA draft and trading for Andrea Bargnani (a deal which, according to Marc Stein, should be completed soon with the inclusion of Earl Barron or Quentin Richardson), the Knicks have already begun to add to the team ahead of the new season.
These new additions to the team should dictate New York's activity in free agency, especially when it comes to choosing a position to address with the taxpayers' exception and attempting to re-sign its own players.
Let's take a look at the biggest rumors regarding the Knicks right now, and determine whether or not they are likely to go down.
Chris Copeland May Return to NY for Less
After showing the NBA just how good an offensive player he is, Chris Copeland is likely to get some big offers this summer.
According to the New York Post, Copeland will be looking for "Steve Novak money" in free agency, which essentially means he's after a four-year, $16 million deal.
The most the Knicks can actually offer Copeland is $3.2 million per year, but according to RealGM, the forward may be willing to turn down lucrative offers to return to New York.
While Copeland certainly sounds like a loyal guy, the likelihood is that he'll still cost the Knicks the full taxpayers' exception, something which they may not be willing to spend on a need they've already addressed.
After the Andrea Bargnani trade, the Knicks already have a forward who can spread the floor off the bench, so it's highly unlikely that they'll spend their only major free-agency asset on another one.
Copeland had a great year in New York, but the trade signals that the Knicks want the flexibility to use the exception on a point guard, or—if they have to—to bring back Pablo Prigioni and Kenyon Martin.
Undrafted C.J. Leslie Will Make Final Roster
Following the selection of Tim Hardaway Jr. with the No. 24 overall pick, the Knicks went on to pick up undrafted free agent C.J. Leslie, who could end up being an absolute steal.
Leslie is a ridiculous athlete, and many thought he would be going early in the second round at the latest. Instead, he'll have a chance to earn a place on the Knicks' roster in summer league.
The main reason Leslie went undrafted was due to issues regarding motivation and attitude, but not hearing his name called on draft day should light a fire under him. Leslie now has to work for a guaranteed NBA contract and should shine in Las Vegas.
Considering his talent and athleticism, it seems likely that Leslie will make the final roster. The Knicks don't have much to spend in free agency, but Leslie gives them a cost-effective option to get younger and more energetic, which is exactly what they need.
Tony Allen Could Be an Option with Taxpayers' Exception
As an elite perimeter defender, Tony Allen would be a great fit for the Knicks, especially considering how bad their own perimeter defense was at times last season.
Still, due to financial issues and Allen's love for the Memphis Grizzlies, it seems highly unlikely that he'll actually end up in orange and blue.
"The Grindfather" has already told ESPN that he wants to retire in Memphis and that he thinks the team will re-sign him in free agency,
Meanwhile, according to The Commercial Appeal (subscription required), the Grizzlies have made it a priority to re-sign Allen. Couple that with the fact that they can pay him more than any other team can, and it's hard to see him ending up anywhere other than Memphis.
Shawne Williams Could Make a Return to MSG
According to the New York Post, former Knick Shawne Williams worked out with the team last week and could be an option to bolster the frontcourt with the veteran's minimum.
Williams had a fantastic season with the Knicks in 2010-11, but he has since fallen off and didn't play in the NBA at all last season. Still, he'd be just the kind of low-risk, high-reward player the Knicks are looking for and could well end up back in New York.
Though the Knicks have already acquired Andrea Bargnani to play the role Williams previously had, he could still have a place on this team as a defender.
He's capable of playing physically in the post or on the perimeter, and that kind of versatility could help the Knicks escape mediocrity on the defensive end this season.
Considering all the injuries it had last season, it wouldn't be surprising if New York loaded the frontcourt with as many bigs as possible, so Williams could well be an option with the minimum salary.
Knicks Could Reacquire Rights to Kostas Papanikolaou
In a strange turn of events, the Knicks have expressed interest (via the New York Post) in reacquiring the rights to Kostas Papanikolaou, a player they drafted at No. 48 in the 2011 Draft.
The Knicks originally traded Papanikolaou away as part of the deal that brought Raymond Felton to New York, but they are now offering the Portland Trail Blazers future second-round picks and cash considerations to get him back.
After earning his first Greek League All-Star appearance last season and winning the Euroleague's Rising Star award, Papanikolaou has improved significantly, and many think he would have been a first-round pick in this year's draft.
Because of that, the Blazers have received offers of a first-round pick in exchange for him, but the Knicks aren't in a position to give them one, and it's unlikely that they'd give up Tim Hardaway Jr. to them after-the-fact.
If Papanikolaou has improved as much as people say he has, the Knicks are just going to have to chalk this one up as a loss.
Aaron Brooks, Will Bynum Could Be Options to Back Up Raymond Felton
Now that they've acquired Andrea Bargnani, the Knicks are free to use the mini mid-level of $3.2 million on a point guard instead of Chris Copeland, which is a major boost to their plans in free agency.
The Knicks are now in the market for some of the high-level backup point guards available and will no longer have to use the veteran's minimum to address their biggest need.
Brooks would be a great fit and would provide the penetration and energy the team was missing behind Felton last season. He was scheduled to make $2.5 million with the Rockets, so it's likely that he'll be looking for a similar number in free agency, and the Knicks are now in a position to give him that.
Meanwhile, the Detroit Free Press has also linked the Knicks to Will Bynum, another point guard whom it would likely take the full mini mid-level to acquire.
Like Brooks, Bynum would be a great option behind Felton and could be the answer to the stagnant play of the second unit.
Monta Ellis Could End Up in New York
This was supposed to be a quiet offseason during which the Knicks looked only at minor role players, but with the team on the verge of acquiring Andrea Bargnani and now in the mix for Monta Ellis, it looks like we were wrong.
Ellis had a player option for $11 million with the Milwaukee Bucks that he turned down, but he and his agent are willing to compromise salary to play for a contender.
That sounds great, but the Knicks can only offer him a maximum $3.2 million. He may be willing to take a pay cut, but $7.8 million is a steep price to pay, and there are surely other contenders out there who could pay him more.
Ellis would be a slight upgrade on J.R. Smith, and would be great value if he's willing to take less to play in New York, but this doesn't seem like a realistic move.