The New York Knicks need an upgrade in talent and currently being without a draft choice as well as the ability to offer someone a max contract, they will have to look to find a diamond in the rough or two.
Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders tweeted that several players are attending the Knicks free agent mini camp this week. The purpose of the camp is to see if any of players will fit on their summer league squad.
To put it in 1 tweet: Anthony Bennett, Royce White, Arnett Moultrie, Pierre Jackson, Ognjen Kuzmić are among players working out for Knicks.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 8, 2016
Bennett is one of the biggest busts in NBA draft history. The 23-year-old, who was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft, has struggled mightily in his first three years in the NBA. He averaged 1.5 points and 1.3 rebounds in 19 games with the Toronto Raptors last season.
Bennett is supremely talented, but he shouldn’t ever have been the No. 1 overall pick. He can score but is not highly efficient. Bennett is a good rebounder and not awful defensively though he has had a difficult time staying in shape.
White has also been a huge disappointment after being selected with the No. 16 overall pick in the first round of the 2012 draft by the Houston Rockets. He has only appeared in three NBA games but that was back during the 2012-13 campaign.
Moultrie, 25, is athletic and stands at just under 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan as well as a 37.5-inch max vertical leap. Moultrie hasn’t played in the NBA since appearing in 12 games during the 2012-13 season with the Philadelphia 76ers. He was selected with the No. 27 overall pick by the Miami Heat in the 2012 draft.
Jackson is very athletic and has a score first mentality. He has suffered a few severe injuries and has not played in an NBA regular season game. The 5-foot-10 point guard was selected with the No. 42 pick in the 2013 draft by the 76ers.
Kuzmic has appeared in 37 career NBA games with the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors selected the 7-foot center in the second round of the 2012 draft.
New York currently has seven players under contract. Carmelo Anthony, Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon, Kristaps Porzingis, Kyle O’Quinn, and Jerian Grant possess guaranteed contracts. Arron Afflalo ($8 million) and Derrick Williams ($4.59 million) have player options while Tony Wroten ($1.05 million) has a non-guaranteed contract. Cleanthony Early and Langston Galloway are slated to be restricted free agents, if tendered a qualifying offer.
Afflalo and Williams are expected to decline their player option and become unrestricted free agents according to the New York Daily News. If both players do become free agents, New York will have around $37 million of cap space available – meaning that the Knicks would be able to offer a max contract.
The question would then become, could the Knicks be able to persuade one of the top free agents to come to join Anthony and Porzingis?
Tommy Beers of Basketball Insiders doesn’t believe Kevin Durant will be bringing his talents to the “Big Apple” and LeBron James is presumably going to re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Beers also doesn’t believe it makes sense for the Knicks to max out Mike Conley or Dwight Howard.
The Knicks biggest needs are at point guard, depth at nearly position and shooters.
“You name [the need], we’ve got it. We’re basically just out getting talent, players that fit what we try to do, have a collective thought, team players,” Knicks president Phil Jackson told SNY.
Beers added that there are several guards that will be on the market come that the Knicks could pursue such as Matthew Dellavedova (RFA), Seth Curry (RFA), Courtney Lee (UFA), Lance Stephenson (Team Option), Eric Gordon (UFA), Ty Lawson (UFA), Evan Fournier (RFA), Jeremy Lin (UFA), Tyler Johnson (RFA), Brandon Jennings (UFA), Kent Bazemore (UFA), Allen Crabbe (RFA), and Evan Turner (UFA).
Curry, Gordon, Bazemore, Crabbe, and Turner are the most interesting of the players on the list.
Curry, who is Stephen’s younger brother, played for the Sacramento Kings last year. He is an outstanding shooter with deep range though he struggles with his handles and is just an okay passer. Curry ended last season strong, averaging 15.5 points and 4.1 assists per contest, while shooting 47.4 percent from the floor, 49.2 percent from three-point territory, and 90 percent from the free-throw stripe over the final 10 games of the season.
Curry tallied double-figures in 12-of-his-44 appearances last season, including in each of the final seven contests. For the season, the 25-year old averaged 6.3 points while shooting 45.5 percent from the field and 45.0 percent from the three-point line. Curry had a true shooting percentage of 60 percent.
Gordon is an excellent shooter and good passer. The 27-year-old is injury prone and has not appeared in more than 64 games since the 2008-09 season. He appeared in 45 games last season for the New Orleans Pelicans, averaging 15.2 points and 2.7 assists and shot 38.4 percent from the three-point line.
Bazemore is an excellent defender who can shoot. The 26-year-old is coming off his best season of his four-year career, averaging 11.6 points along with 5.1 rebounds while shooting 44.1 percent from the field along with 35.7 percent from beyond the arc with the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks have reportedly made re-signing Bazemore, who CBS Sports ranks as the No. 19 best free agent this year.
Crabbe, like Bazemore, is a 3-D type player. The 24-year-old exceeded all expectations in his third professional campaign, averaging 10.3 points while shooting 45.9 percent from the field along with 39.4 percent from beyond the arc with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Turner can do a lot of different things. He is an excellent passer, good ball-handler, and a decent defender. The 27-year old was a nice contributor for the Boston Celtics last year while coming off the bench, averaging 10.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game. Kennedy said that the Knicks are definitely interested in the 6-foot-7 wing.
League rumblings: The Knicks are rumored to be interested in soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Evan Turner. The interest may be mutual.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 7, 2016
The Inquisitr previously reported that the Knicks likely won’t be interested in Lin or Lawson.
In other news, New York still plans on acquiring a draft pick in this year’s draft per Brian Lewis of the New York Post. The Knicks recently worked out former UConn guard Sterling Gibbs.
[Photo by David Zalubowski/Associated Press]