If Kyrie Irving does not sign with the New York Knicks, who are potential options for them at point guard this offseason?
The New York Knicks have not installed a long-term option at point guard in years. Players like Jose Calderon, an aging Jason Kidd, Jarrett Jack, Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni have circled through, none of which held the job for more than a season or two.
For a while, Kyrie Irving finally seemed like the point guard of the next four years in New York, providing an established face. Speculation of that seemingly halted with talk of the Brooklyn Nets, including from ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who said the 2016 NBA champion plans on committing to the other New York team this summer.
So the Knicks may have to identify alternatives.
Who are those options, though? There are a handful of them to consider, whether from the draft or free agency, but most of them may not be an easy addition to make:
5. Ricky Rubio
The Utah Jazz will not make Ricky Rubio a priority this offseason, leaving the veteran point guard to the free agent market for the first time in his NBA career since he was drafted in 2009. He never reached the sky-high expectations attached as a pro from Spain, but has carved a spot as a starter.
From 2011-17, the Minnesota Timberwolves put the ball in Rubio’s hands early and often, pushing nine assists per game for most of his time. It came with sub 40-percent shooting, but his ability to create with the ball kept a starting spot.
Rubio found a change of address in Utah and became a better offensive player in 2017-18, which, if the New York Knicks target him, will be the version they — and anyone else in contention — hopes for. 13.1 points, 41.8 percent shooting and 35.2 percent on three-pointers marked career-highs across the board.
Each number dropped in his second season with the Jazz, which may be why Rubio’s tenure will end. This positions him as a cheaper alternative to the point guards available in free agency, but eight years in, you know what he will provide at age 28.
How much will Rubio cost? He made nearly $15 million in 2018-19. With the cap set to rise to $109 million, he can potentially receive a similar figure, but if the market does not work out for him, something closer to $10 million per year makes sense.