2011 and 2012 Free Agent Class: 10 Players That Should Be on the Knicks' Radar

Sam SiegelContributor IIFebruary 26, 2011

2011 and 2012 Free Agent Class: 10 Players That Should Be on the Knicks' Radar

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 19:  Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans Hornets competes in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge apart of NBA All-Star Saturday Night at Staples Center on February 19, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    The recent additions of Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony has the city of New York excited about the Knicks' future.  The 2011 and 2012 free agent classes consist of a lot of talented players that would help the New York Knicks compete for a championship for several years to come.  Here's some players who the Knicks should target in the upcoming 2011 and 2012 off seasons. 

10. Class of 2011: Caron Butler, Dallas Mavericks

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    DALLAS - NOVEMBER 27: Caron Butler #4 of the Dallas Mavericks shoots over Joel Anthony #50 of the Miami Heat on November 27, 2010 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading a
    Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

    Caron Butler is a very good player. He's currently out with injuries and might be out for the rest of the season, but that shouldn't stop Donnie Walsh from making a run at Caron Butler.  He would provide the Knicks with much needed bench help, and he would split time with Landry Fields at the shooting guard position. Butler would be good to pair with 'Melo and Stoudamire, and can really help the Knicks next season. 

9. Class of 2011: Tyson Chandler, Dallas Mavericks

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    PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 17:  Tyson Chandler #6 of the Dallas Mavericks puts up a shot over Robin Lopez #15 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on February 17, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Mavericks defeated the Suns 112-106. NOTE
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Okay, here's a player that the Knicks should definitely make an offer to.  Tyson Chandler is a seven foot defensive minded center.  If the Knicks add Chandler, they would be championship contenders next season. 

    He has the ability to block shots, and rebound as well as anyone in the league.  A line up of Billups, Fields, Carmelo, Stoudamire and Chandler would definitely be a scary line up.

8. Class of 2011: Jason Richardson, Orlando Magic

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    ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 13:  Jason Richardson #23 of the Orlando Magic chases a loose ball during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Amway Arena on February 13, 2011 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, b
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Jason Richardson is the starting shooting guard for the Orlando Magic.  My feeling is that the Magic most likely will let Richardson walk after this season. 

    Here's where the Knicks come into play. 

    With him as their sixth man, Richardson provides the team with defense and much needed bench scoring.  He'd be a good fit in D'Antoni's system and would really help the Knicks a lot.

7. Class of 2011: Kendrick Perkins, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    BOSTON - FEBRUARY 13:  Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat goes to the basket against Kendrick Perkins #43 of the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on February 13, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloa
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Kendrick Perkins was just traded from the Boston Celtics to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.  He's arguably the best low post defender in the game.  I think the Thunder will most likely try to re-sign Perkins after this year, but who knows?  Perkins may not like his time in OKC and might decide to test the market after this year. 

     He would fit in great along side with Stoudamire and Carmelo.  The combination of 'Melo, Stoudamire and Perkins in the front court would be a killer for other teams both in the regular season and in the playoffs. 

6. Class of 2011: Shane Battier, Memphis Grizzlies

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    HOUSTON - DECEMBER 29: Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat shoots over Shane Battier #31 of the Houston Rockets and Jordan Hill, left, in the fourth quarter at Toyota Center on December 29, 2010 in Houston, Texas. Miami won 125-119. NOTE TO USER: User express
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Shane Battier is another defensive minded player.  However, he can also shoot the three and we all know Mike D'Antoni loves players who can drain it from downtown. 

    He's an unrestricted free agent this offseason, meaning he can sign wherever he wants.  Battier would be a nice fit in New York and he'd certainly be a good defensive player.  With him backing up Carmelo at the small forward position, the Knicks would have a very solid bench.

5. Class of 2011: Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 02:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers is boxed out by Marc Gasol #33 of the Memphis Grizzlies during the second half at Staples Center on January 2, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Grizzlies defeated the Lakers 104-85
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Here's a player that would be a huge help for the Knicks.  Marc Gasol is a very good offensive and defensive player.  More importantly, he's better on defense. 

    The Knicks have enough offense already, all they need is a couple defensive players.  With Marc Gasol at the 5, the Knicks would have a very good front court.  He's a good low post defender and would be able to guard the top big men in the league.  He would be a great fit in the Garden. 

4. Class of 2012: Nene Hilario, Denver Nuggets

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    DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 24:  Nene #31 of the Denver Nuggets is called for a technical foul as he dunks against Glen Davis #11 and Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics during NBA action at the Pepsi Center on February 24, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Nugg
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Nene Hilario's time in Denver may be coming to an end soon.  He might be traded this offseason, or he may decide to stay with Denver for one more year and test the market in 2012. 

     He's an unrestricted free agent after the 2012 season. 

     Nene is one of the best big men in the game.  He plays defense, he can score and rebound.  With him and Carmelo Anthony being reunited, the Knicks would have a scary starting line up.  Signing Nene, or trading for him this offseason should be one of the top priorities that Donnie Walsh has. 

3. Class of 2012: Jason Terry, Dallas Mavericks

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    DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 10:  Jason Terry #31 of the Dallas Mavericks receives a pass against the Denver Nuggets during NBA action at the Pepsi Center on February 10, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Mavericks 121-120. NOTE TO USER: User ex
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Jason Terry is another great player in the NBA.  He's won the sixth man of the year award and he's a great competitor.  He may decide to leave Dallas after the 2012 season.  Teaming up with Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudamire may sound intriguing to him and that could lead to him coming to New York. 

    With adding Terry and a solid big man, the Knicks would have a complete team.  Jason would be the sixth man for the Knicks and he would really help the team compete for a championship.  He will become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2012.

2. Class of 2012: Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets

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    OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 15:  Chris Paul #3 of the New Orleans Hornets in action against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on February 15, 2011 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    "To the future big three in New York."  That's what Chris Paul toasted at Carmelo Anthony's wedding in New York City over the summer.  That got all Knick fans excited, then Chris Paul reportedly asked the Hornets for a trade to the Knicks which obviously didn't happen. 

    Trading for Carmelo Anthony at this years deadline was probably the final step in the pursuit of Chris Paul in the summer of 2012.  As of right now, it's almost a definite that he will join the Knicks. 

    With all the talk of this new collective bargaining agreement, the salaries for each team in the NBA may decrease.  Will the Knicks have enough cap room to sign CP3?  Donnie Walsh has told reporters that the Knicks still have cap room.  With the expiring contracts of Kelenna Azubuike, Anthony Carter, Roger Mason, and Sheldon Williams, that leaves the Knicks with some cap room after this season.  Don't be surprised if the Knicks try to trade for Paul this off season. 

    The Hornets may be scared of losing him in free agency after the 2012 season and that may lead them to listen to offers for CP3.  I think there will be a new big three in New York very soon. 

1. Class of 2012: Raymond Felton, Denver Nuggets

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    DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 24:  Raymond Felton #20 of the Denver Nuggets looks on during pregame festivities prior to facing the Boston Celtics during NBA action at the Pepsi Center on February 24, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Celtics 89-
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    It's sad to see Raymond Felton in a Denver Nugget uniform.  He was great for the Knicks in the first half of the season.  He averaged 18 points and 9 assists per game.  Basically, he was a huge part of their success so far this season. 

    Felton was part of the deal that sent Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony to New York and who knows, if the Nuggets decide to let him walk in 2012, the Knicks should consider bringing him back.  He was a great fit in Mike D'Antoni's system and was having a career year. 

     If the Knicks don't manage to sign Chris Paul, Raymond Felton should begin his second chapter with the Knicks in 2012.

    Maybe the Knicks could even bring him back as a back up point guard.

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