New York Knicks rumors about a Carmelo Anthony trade, Phil Jackson getting fired, and Kristaps Porzingis wanting out of the city have inundated fans since the NBA offseason began. While it’s not the true NBA offseason, as the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers are about to play for the championship, vacations typically start in mid-April for Knicks players and fans. While those Knicks rumors about the core of the team might be intriguing, a more pressing issue may be figuring out who will play point guard for the team during the 2017-18 NBA season.
The Derrick Rose experiment didn’t work very well for the Knicks and it is expected that he will walk away from the team in free agency. An updated look at the New York Knicks’ payroll numbers has the team committed to just over $77 million in salaries for next year. That doesn’t count Rose, who served as the primary point guard last season, or Brandon Jennings, who was the primary backup off the bench. Jennings is also a free agent who could command a higher salary than the Knicks want to pay him. This all leaves a gaping hole on the roster.
A small piece of good news for the New York Knicks is that the 2017 NBA draft order reveals a first-round pick for the team. The Knicks will pick eighth, 44th, and 58th when the day finally rolls around on June 22. Having three selections should allow the team to address its problems at the point guard position, but it’s also possible that the team adds another pick or two before the big day. As some of the prior Carmelo Anthony trade rumors have indicated, team president Phil Jackson might just part with the All-Star forward for draft picks.
NBA Execs believe Malik Monk should make the transition to PG. Monk lacks size and length, so this could be beneficial for his NBA Career pic.twitter.com/trz5etoEx6
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) May 19, 2017
In a new Knicks mock draft, the team is shown to target Kentucky shooting guard Malik Monk with their first-round pick and then Latvia center Anzejs Pasecniks and Bulgaria forward Aleksander Vezenkov with the two second-round selections. During his one season at Kentucky, Monk played in 38 games for the team. He averaged 19.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. Monk was also named the SEC Player of the Year, so he could certainly bring a lot of offense to a team that needs it.
Additional players who could be of interest to the Knicks but who might be off the board by pick No. 8 include Washington point guard Markelle Fultz, UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball, Kansas swingman Josh Jackson, Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox, and North Carolina State point guard Dennis Smith. The 2017 NBA Draft is definitely deep at the point guard position, with some teams taking a long look at Frank Ntilikina out of France as well. Could one of the top four point guards fall to No. 8 on draft day?
While the New York Knicks rumors about selecting a point guard in the draft might make sense, the team also has a few options to explore in free agency. Among them is Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul. Paul and Carmelo Anthony are friends, so it has become a dream of many Knicks fans to see the pair unite in New York. It’s an unlikely scenario, though, as the Clippers can give Paul a lot of extra money to re-sign with the team.
Additional point guards likely to be available during NBA free agency are Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Jrue Holiday of the New Orleans Pelicans, Jeff Teague of the Indiana Pacers, Trey Burke of the Washington Wizards, and Michael Carter-Williams of the Chicago Bulls. That’s in addition to Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings, who could both potentially re-sign with the Knicks under the right circumstances.
The Spurs are exploring the feasibility of making a free-agent run at Chris Paul. https://t.co/DFnIqZsHCi
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 27, 2017
So what will the Knicks decide to do during the NBA offseason? The answer to that question resides with team president Phil Jackson. The team has a good selection in the 2017 NBA Draft to work with, but could get even more picks by dealing away star player Carmelo Anthony.
A best-case scenario for the team would be to keep Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, have a top-tier point guard slip to them at No. 8 in the draft, and then have a top-notch free agent accept less money to play in New York. Barring those scenarios, fans should expect a barrage of New York Knicks rumors over the next few weeks.
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