The New York Knicks have been somewhat quiet in free agency, but the front office is doing the right thing by building for the future.
We’re all used to the New York Knicks spending most of their cap space on big name stars who fail to bring success to the Big Apple. This year, the Knicks’ front office seem to be looking forward to the future, in particular the 2019 free agency period.
While some teams, like the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors, have made splashes this free agency period, the Knicks have flown under the radar.
Knicks president Steve Mills stated that the Knicks will be looking towards next year’s star-studded free agent pool. The front office’s actions thus far have proven this to be true.
The Knicks signed Hezonja to a one-year deal, and many reports have indicated that they’ve been reluctant to offer multi-year contracts to any free agent.
This is the right move for the Knicks, as they can give players, like Hezonja and possibly Phoenix Sun’s Alan Williams, a one-year trial run to see if they can tap into their potential. If these players fail to show promise, they can move on in free agency without affecting the 2019 cap space.
The Knicks are over the 15-man limit for the main roster, and still have to sign second-round draft pick Mitchell Robinson to his rookie contract.
Another player that may be moved is fan favorite Ron Baker, who built a good relationship with former coach Jeff Hornacek and is currently recovering from an injury that will keep him out of Summer League.
Alleviating the Knicks of the contracts of Lee and Noah, either through a trade or the stretch provision later in the offseason, would open up cap room to add more pieces alongside the max contract player next summer.
Lee would be appealing to playoff-bound teams that are looking for a serviceable two-way wing player. The ideal return on a trade for Lee would be a combination of picks; either a projected late first or early second.
The trade market for Noah has been non-existent and there has been talk of the Knicks waiving Noah via the stretch provision.
It’s important to note that Noah, if healthy, could serve in a backup role this season, as Kyle O’Quinn is likely to sign with another team.
The front office has done an admirable job of accumulating as much young talent as possible, including three top-10 selections from the 2015 NBA Draft. This appears to be following the model provided by the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs.
The success of this free agency will depend heavily on the abilities of VP of Player Development Craig Robinson and head coach David Fizdale. They must tap into the potential of the younger players on their roster.
While the New York Knicks aren’t under pressure to make the playoffs next season, the development of their roster will no doubt aid in courting top free agents next summer.