NBA trade rumors are suggesting that New York Knicks team president Phil Jackson has been working the phones with other general managers to see if he can unload some contracts, according to NJ.com. The belief is that the Knicks are hoping to upgrade their back court by acquiring Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley, either via the trade deadline this year or via free agency after the season ends.
Right now, the New York Knicks are set in the front court. Though he isn’t as dominating as he once was, Carmelo Anthony is still one of the better small forwards in the NBA. Rookie forward Kristaps Porzingis has grown into a contributor much sooner than anyone thought he would be, and he has shown the potential to become a superstar. Free agent acquisitions Derrick Williams and Robin Lopez have been extremely solid.
While the New York Knicks have received a nice little boost from Langston Galloway and Aaron Aflalo, Phil Jackson still wants an upgrade in the back court, especially at the point guard position. Jose Calderon is the starter and a solid player, but Jackson thinks they need spectacular if the Knicks want to become a regular part of the NBA Playoffs.
Mike Conley doesn’t score as much as Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (no one in the NBA actually does). Conley doesn’t grab as many rebounds as Sacramento Kings point guard Rajon Rondo. Mike doesn’t dish out as many assists as Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook. Conley doesn’t steal the ball as frequently as Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio.
Mike Conley is not the best point guard in the NBA, but he is a very good one. He averages 14.6 points, 6.1 assists, three rebounds, and 1.6 steals a game. Conley shoots 40 percent from the field, 35 percent from beyond the three point line, and 85 percent from the free throw line. Those numbers not only make him one of the more respected players in the National Basketball Association, but an upgrade for the New York Knicks.
If no one opts out of their deal when the season ends, the New York Knicks will have approximately $18 million in salary cap space. Mike Conley is reportedly seeking to make $25 million a year, so Phil Jackson is going to need to get a bit creative before the NBA trade deadline to make sure that his team is in position to acquire the services of the former Ohio State Buckeyes star this summer.
New York Knicks center Robin Lopez is set to make $13.6 million next season. While Lopez has done a tremendous job for the Knicks, especially with his evolving offensive game, the team might consider Robin to be expendable since Kristaps Porzingis will eventually make the shift from power forward to center once he gains some more weight. A team like the Chicago Bulls could show interest in Lopez, especially if they feel that Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah are going to walk away via free agency.
Jose Calderon is set to make $7.7 million next season. Since Mike Conley would take over as the starting point guard for the New York Knicks, then the veteran from Spain can be shipped out to a team that is looking for a stop gap solution or for a valuable mentor to a younger player. The Los Angeles Lakers could use a true point guard to teach D’Angelo Russell the ways of the NBA.
The New York Knicks courting of Mike Conley will definitely happen when free agency begins, but they could also start that earlier by pulling the trigger at the NBA trade deadline.
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