J.R. Smith and his $6.4 million owed next season are now gone. Amare Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani and a lot of other players come off the books as their contracts expire. After their moves this week the Knicks should have more than $25 million in cap space next summer to go after….
That’s not really accurate, they will make a run at Marc Gasol for one, but the rumor is they are realistic about it and not optimistic they will land the Spanish big man. After that the names that come up are the Thunder’s Reggie Jackson and then, maybe nobody of note, reports Ian Begley of ESPN New York.
The feeling among some around the league is that the Knicks will instead target second- and third-tier free agents this summer and maintain some cap flexibility for the summer of 2016, when a free-agent class headlined by Kevin Durant becomes available.
One name to keep an eye on this summer is Reggie Jackson. NBA people expect the Knicks to have interest in Jackson, who can test free agency this summer. Jackson likely will be a restricted free agent. But with Oklahoma City having obtained Dion Waiters, the club may not break the bank to retain Jackson.
Durant’s potential free agency is like LeBron James’ in 2010 in the sense that he is such a game changer every team that can will make sure it has cap space to offer him a max contract. If he were to leave Oklahoma City — and that is still a big “if,” the Thunder remain the odds on favorite to retain him — teams such as his home town Wizards, the Lakers and a host of others will join the Knicks in trying to land the top scorer in the game.
I don’t think the Knicks should be totally quiet in free agency and only swing for the fences, they need to spend a little on role players who fit the triangle system. That means smart veteran guys, unselfish guys, and some guys who can space the floor with their shot. Not everybody fits in their system.
But they do need another star to go next to Carmelo Anthony and they do need to keep enough money free to offer the max to Gasol or Durant or whomever else they are able to land down the line. If they strike out on the big names this summer, they may very well keep most of their powder dry looking ahead to 2016.