New York Knicks: Early connections exist with top 2019 free agents

Boston Celtics Kyrie Irving, New York Knicks Allonzo Trier (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics Kyrie Irving, New York Knicks Allonzo Trier (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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New York Knicks
New York Knicks Scott Perry, Steve Mills (Photo by Steven Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Some of the NBA’s top free agents in 2019 have been linked to the New York Knicks.

The New York Knicks still have 73 games to play in the 2018-19 season, but that won’t stop the hype around 2019 free agency. Some of the NBA’s biggest names will hit the open market and seek rich contracts, which has teams looking for salary-cap position.

With the waive and stretch of Joakim Noah, the Knicks have over $30 million to spend in July. There’s the potential for more space to open, pending a contract like Courtney Lee‘s moves.

Even with eight months before the next batch of players become free agents, the top names have been linked to the Knicks. Will any of them follow in the footsteps of Amar’e Stoudemire in 2010?

Five players already have a connection to New York, so let’s look at who they are, what it is and the chances of a link-up after the season ends:

Kemba Walker

Kemba Walker, born and raised in New York City, has seemingly developed connections to the New York Knicks for the past three or four years. Although, all of it was speculation, rather than a rumor or anything coming to fruition between them and the Charlotte Hornets.

As Posting and Toasting noted, Walker spoke at an NBAPA youth summer camp in August about potentially playing for the Knicks. He acknowledged the connection, the city, the team, and why he doesn’t envision himself in the blue and orange:

"Of course I was a Knicks fan growing up. Always rooted for the home team. But like I said, I really can’t see myself in a Knicks jersey — ONLY because I’ve only been in one jersey. I really don’t know.”"

Not a definitive answer from the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent, but hardly positive for the Knicks, either.

Walker has spent all eight years of his NBA career as Charlotte’s point guard and, if in New York, he would provide the same on a lucrative multi-year contract; the four-year, $48 million deal he signed in 2014 will look minuscule in comparison.

The Knicks have searched for a point guard since the first Raymond Felton stint ended in 2011, when he went to the Denver Nuggets in the Carmelo Anthony trade. Chauncey Billups, Jason Kidd, Jose Calderon and Pablo Prigioni are just some of the players that have stepped in.

It hinges on the organization’s view of Frank Ntilikina, however, whether he’s an on-ball or off-ball player. 2018-19 will determine this, if he is the point guard of the future.

Other avenues exist for the open cap space, if not used on a one-guard.