If the NBA salary cap lands where projected and the Knicks get the No. 4 pick in the draft and renounce all their free agents, they’d have $25,434,111 in cap room.
That’s plenty to land a max player and another solid piece.
*The NBA’s worst team has a 35.7 percent chance of receiving the No. 4 pick in the lottery, making the fourth selection more likely than No. 1 (25.0 percent chance), No. 2 (21.5) or No. 3 (17.8).
At different times, the Knicks have been linked to many of the top 2015 free agents.
They’ll pursue Marc Gasol – and Pau Gasol even said they have a chance – but they know that’s a longshot. Rajon Rondo has been a long-rumored target, but he’ll likely stay in Dallas. Goran Dragic said he’d consider the Knicks. Reggie Jackson could be a target. Tobias Harris might be interested, and he’d reportedly get a Nike bonus if he plays for New York.
If you really want to get crazy, Kevin Love, Dwyane Wade and even LeBron James could opt out and explore free agency this summer. Love’s loyalty to the Cavaliers is unclear (to be fair he hasn’t had an opportunity yet to prove it), and Phil Jackson pursued the forward in a trade last offseason. Why not try again this summer? Wade was once a New York target, and so was LeBron as recently as last year.
The Knicks play in a market where they can get their foot in the door with the biggest free agents.
But they’re also 5-35, a record that certainly won’t entice anyone credible.
Will New York overcome its on-court struggles in the marketplace? Carmelo Anthony says he’s up for the challenge.
Ian Begley of ESPN:
The problem is Melo is a key reason the Knicks are 5-35.
He’s struggling on the court, at least relative to his usual standards, as he delays knee surgery. Free agents should wonder how much long-term physical damage a 30-year-old Melo is doing now.
There are also the old concerns about Melo’s ability to help his team win given his lack of defense and passing. I think those issues are overblown, especially in recent seasons as Melo has expanded his game and increase his energy level. But, yes, free agents should consider all that, too.
There’s also Melo’s huge contract, which could inhibit the Knicks’ ability to further upgrade the roster. This team is not only one star away from title contention.
And Melo is probably the best thing the Knicks have going other than a draft pick that has yet to arrive.
Tim Hardaway Jr. has regressed. Iman Shumpert is gone. Derek Fisher looks in over his head. Phil Jackson is no immediate savior.
It’s not impossible for bad teams to land expensive free agents. LeBron James went to the Cavaliers last summer. Al Jefferson (Charlotte), Josh Smith (Detroit) and Tyreke Evans (New Orleans) joined bad teams the year before.
The Knicks’ record hurts, but it doesn’t disqualify them. It’ll be interesting to see how Melo factors, though.
I’m convinced a lot of free agents like the idea of playing with Melo, but when push comes to shove, we’ll see whether any actually do it this summer – especially when so much else is going wrong with the Knicks around Melo.