New York Knicks: Five scenarios if no superstars sign in free agency

New York Knicks (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
New York Knicks (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Bucks Khris Middleton (Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

2. Overpay two “mid-tier” free agents

A potential “disaster” scenario if the New York Knicks lose on the stars, they will have the money to overpay the next tier of free agents. While quality players, they are not the title-leading talents to take this organization to the next level.

That means overpaying a good player like Khris Middleton, who broke out in a secondary role to Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee. Middleton can average around 20 points per game, but can’t be the top player the Knicks sign, despite him slightly taking this team away from the cellar.

Overpaying Terry Rozier is another dangerous avenue. New York has interest in the four-year man, who will become a restricted free agent in July.

However, Rozier has yet to average over 40 percent shooting in a season and tailed off after returning to a reserve role behind Kyrie Irving. Given his free-agent tag, and the fact Boston can match any offer, it may take the Knicks paying more than they want for someone who has not flashed since the 2018 postseason.

While formerly a superstar before injuries, DeMarcus Cousins is as risky a big name as any. If he is New York’s fallback plan, paying for someone off a torn Achilles and quadriceps on a multi-year contract may create immediate regret.

Paying these middle-tier free agents is desperate. The Knicks will improve, but their salary cap space will compromise and their team ceiling will collapse.