Which pending free agents should the New York Knicks re-sign? Who should be allowed to walk?
A number of New York Knicks will hit free agency this offseason, and the team needs to sort the wheat from the chaff. The most prominent free agents are Lance Thomas, Langston Galloway, Derrick Williams, Kevin Seraphin, Sasha Vujacic, and Thanasis Antetokounmpo.
So I am going to go through each one of the above and call it like I see it.
Lance Thomas (SF-PF) was having an excellent year coming off the bench until he got injured. He was defending well, his 3-point shot was falling at a much improved .404 rate, and he was a big contributor to second unit’s early season success.
It’s quite telling that the Knicks fell apart around the same time Thomas was injured.
Verdict: Re-sign assuming you can keep him for under $5 million.
Langston Galloway (PG-SG) is a streaky shooter who plays defense and fights for rebounds (despite his height). He was one of the few gems to emerge from the Knicks’ disastrous 2014-15 campaign.
Unfortunately, Langston Galloway didn’t progress at all in his second year with the Knicks. He shot below .400 for the season and he isn’t a natural distributor.
And since Galloway played more than 2,000 minutes this season, his minimum qualifying offer will be $2.725 million. For that kind of money, the Knicks can get another young guard that’s a better shooter. A roll of the dice on Seth Curry comes to mind here.
Verdict: It may be controversial, but let him walk.
Derrick Williams (SF-PF) signed a 1+1 (player option) deal last year that a lot of analysts thought was a bad contract for the Knicks.
Despite the fact that Williams had a good year and provided some much-needed athleticism, the Knicks are too stacked with forwards to spend more money to bring him back.
After a bumpy start, Williams came on strong as a leading figure in the second unit and a one-man fast break. He also had a career year of sorts with 18.7 points per 36 minutes and turned a lot of naysayers around.
That likely means he’ll opt out of his second year and hit the market for a pay raise.
Verdict: Assuming he opts out, let him walk.
Kevin Seraphin (C) was supposed to be the backup center to Robin Lopez. However, the rise of Kristaps Porzingis and having another big body in Kyle O’Quinn meant that Seraphin didn’t get much playing time.
This year, the logjam at power forward and center will likely get even worse because the Knicks are likely to sign the highly-touted Willy Hernangomez, who also plays power forward and center.
Verdict: Let him walk.
Sasha Vujacic (SG) was a bit of an afterthought signing last year. The team had a slot open and too few guards, so team president Phil Jackson reached into his triangle rolodex to bring Vujacic over from Europe. Vujacic ended up playing a lot more than he should have toward the end of the season when Aaron Affalo fell out of favor with interim head coach Kurt Rambis.
That said, Vujacic isn’t an NBA-level guard anymore and the Knicks desperately need an upgrade.
Verdict: Let him walk.
Thanasis Antetokounmpo (SF) barely got any playing time between his stints in the D-league. So I can’t really judge much of anything. However, he is a wing player and that’s an area of need. He would cost very little to retain.
Verdict: Keep him if the Knicks have an extra roster spot open.