Rule No. 1, 2, and 3 of free agency is this: It’s all about the money. Players almost always go where they get paid the most. All the other considerations — family, lifestyle, climate, taxes, etc. — are secondary.
The Knicks will have north of $23 million (or more, depending on moves) to spend this summer to bring in free agents. They are expected to be buyers.
But will how Phil Jackson has done Carmelo Anthony this season hurt the Knicks chances? Some agents say yes, according agents who spoke to Ian Begley of ESPN.
Multiple prominent agents said on Tuesday afternoon that the way Jackson has handled Anthony would turn off their clients and others to the idea of signing with Jackson’s Knicks.
For a team that has many holes to fill, that’s a problem.
As stated at the start of this article, some of this is overstated because if the Knicks come in with a bigger offer for free agent X than anyone else, and do it early enough, they will land their man. Jackson’s Tweets only becomes a potential issue if the Knicks are one of multiple suitors in the same financial ballpark, so the player has options (and even then the agent will try to play the teams off each other to get the best deal).
Thing is, the best players tend to have options. And agents certainly have influence.
What becomes more interesting is the direction the Knicks choose to go this summer. In past years they have gone for quicker fixes, trying to put a veteran team around Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis that could win more now and teach the young star how to win. Instead, Porzingis gets to see another season where the losses pile up and there is a lot of drama. Will the Knicks go the quick-fix, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah route again, or will they try to get younger players who are more athletic and can develop on the same timeline as Porzingis? Jackson’s efforts to trade Anthony hint at the latter, but we need to see more.