New York Knicks: 5 Under-the-Radar Free Agents to target this summer

Cameron Payne, New York Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Cameron Payne, New York Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Malik Monk (1). Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports
Malik Monk (1). Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports /

New York Knicks: 5 under-the-radar free agents – Malik Monk

Malik Monk and the Knicks have been linked since the one-time Kentucky shooting guard entered the NBA draft in 2017. In fact, Monk himself believed the Knicks were going to select him on draft night and was stunned when New York selected Frank Ntilikina instead. Monk has expressed his displeasure about being passed over, but it has not stopped Monk-to-the-Knicks rumors from persisting from the moment he entered the league.

Of the players I’m writing about today, Monk is probably the most likely to join the Blue and Orange this summer. On top of Monk’s desire to play in New York and prove the doubters wrong, we know how much the front office values Kentucky guys.

Monk, who is still only 23, enjoyed his best professional season in 2021 despite battling injuries and only playing in 42 games. He contributed off the bench to the Hornets’ surprise play-in berth by scoring 11.7 points per game on a career-high 40 percent shooting from 3.

Monk was seen as something of a bust before this year. He was a highly-touted prospect after an exciting single season at Kentucky in 2017 but struggled to live up to the hype during his first three seasons in the NBA.

Even with the clear improvement this season, there are many coaches who wouldn’t want to bother with Monk given his reputation. Thibs is an exception — this season alone we saw profound improvements from former “busts” like Reggie Bullock, RJ Barrett, and Julius Randle.

Given Monk’s shooting ability, secondary scoring potential, and dirt cheap asking price, he is a no-brainer for the Knicks this offseason.