If Phil Jackson was never fired: 2019 Free Agency
Our final “what if” looks at 2019 free agency with Phil Jackson still in charge of the Knicks.
Knicks pick up Glenn Robinson III’s team option and waive Lance Thomas
New York picks up Glenn Robinson’s $5 million team option as he played well for a rotation wing. Lance Thomas is waived to free up $7.6 million in cap room.
Nerlens Noel declines $3.5 million player option
Noel played well as the Knicks’ starting center and is looking for a big payday this offseason.
The Knicks enter the 2019 NBA free agency with $35.9 million in cap space.
Knicks trade for Derrick Favors
The Utah Jazz start free agency off with a bang and sign Bojan Bogdanovic to a four year, $73 million deal. However, they need to offload Derrick Favors’ $16.9 dollar partial guarantee to do so. Everyone knows that Phil Jackson is in the market for a veteran big man, so the Jazz call the Knicks, proposing a trade for Derrick Favors that would net the Jazz the Knicks’ 2022 second-rounder and the Cavs’ second-rounder in 2020. The Jazz clear the way to sign Bogdanovic, and Jackson gets a starting center that can protect the rim and grab rebounds. Willy Hernangomez’s future is in limbo now.
Knicks sign JaMychal Green
The Knicks sign JaMychal Green to a pricey two year, $18 million deal to pry him away from the Los Angeles Clippers. Phil Jackson likes Green’s ability to shoot the three, grab rebounds, and play defense on the low block. JaMychal Green gives the Knicks a rotational big to bolster the team’s weak unit.
Knicks sign Alec Burks
The Knicks sign Alec Burks to a one year, $5 million dollar deal to provide the team with a scoring punch and perimeter shooting. Courtney Lee seems like he is on his last legs, and Burks is a reliable replacement. He will be allowed to lead the second unit, something he needs as a high volume scorer.
The Knicks re-sign Jarrett Jack to the minimum as he was a popular teammate last season and a strong leader. The Knicks sign Ivan Rabb and Tremont Waters to two-way contracts.
Knicks Depth Chart (*Denotes Two-Way Contract)
PG: Luka Doncic, Frank Ntilikina, Jarrett Jack, Tremont Waters*
SG: Jaylen Brown, Alec Burks, Damyean Dotson, Courtney Lee
SF: Josh Jackson, Glenn Robinson III
PF: Brandon Clarke, JaMychal Green, Jarred Vanderbilt, Ivan Rabb*
C: Derrick Favors, Jaxson Hayes, Willy Hernangomez
As Phil Jackson heads into his final season as President of Basketball Operations, he assembles a roster that is expected to compete for a low playoff seed in the weak Eastern Conference. The team’s future seems secure with Luka Doncic, and rising stars Jaylen Brown and Josh Jackson in tow. The team has cap flexibility for the next few offseasons, and Phil Jackson saves his failed Knicks legacy if James Dolan never fires him.
Nobody knows what Phil Jackson was thinking and if this was his plan all along. This article is my assessment of what moves he would make, albeit optimistically and with the benefit of time. Shout out to @Knicksfeed on Instagram for helping me brainstorm some of Phil Jackson’s moves.