The Knicks need a point guard.
That doesn’t sum it up well enough: The Knicks DESPERATELY need a point guard. Jeff Hornacek is coming in and wants to pick up the tempo, but he doesn’t have the quarterback he needs to run his offense. Jose Calderon is 34 and is a defensive liability best suited to be a backup. Jerian Grant is still developing but may never be more than a career reserve. Tony Wroten is coming off major surgery.
Mike Conley is at the top of the Knicks’ free agency wish list, but talk to people around the league and the sense is he stays in Memphis so long as they don’t lowball him with their offer.
Who else? How about the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson, a name Ian Begley of ESPN threw out discussing the Knicks quest for a point guard.
The club will have at least $18 million to spend in the offseason, and could also explore the trade market to acquire a guard. They and any other team with needs in the backcourt will have interest in free agent Mike Conley. Restricted Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson also has fans in the Knicks organization, but it seems as if Los Angeles will retain the second-year player.
The Lakers are high on Clarkson as part of their young core — with D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, and after the draft very likely Brandon Ingram — and are expected to match nearly any offer from a team that slides in and tries to poach the guard. The Knicks aren’t the only team with its eyes on Clarkson, but the sense around the league is the Lakers will just match any offer.
The Knicks likely will have to make a trade to get the kind of point guard they seek. The question is what assets do they have on this roster that a team shopping a quality point guard — for fun, let’s say Jeff Teague in Atlanta — would want? It’s not going to be easy for Phil Jackson to get a deal done.