The New York Knicks are entering free agency looking to make another big move. Phil Jackson has made it clear that he wants to get the franchise back into serious playoff contention as soon as this coming season. If he wants to accomplish that goal, he will need to find another piece to add to the puzzle.
It will be interesting to see which players they target in free agency. They were hoping to have a chance at signing Kevin Durant, but it doesn’t sound like he will entertain their offer. DeMar DeRozan could be an option, as we previously mentioned here at the Inquisitr, but they could end up looking at the second tier of free agents instead.
According to a report from Ian Begley of ESPN, the Knicks will have a phone interview with free agent Nicolas Batum when free agency opens up at 12:01 tomorrow morning.
Jackson would be very smart to target a free agent like Batum, who would add to both sides of the court for the Knicks. He is capable of scoring at a high level and can step out and play top-notch perimeter defense.
Last season with the Charlotte Hornets, Batum ended up averaging 14.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game. He shot 42.6 percent from the field overall and knocked down 34.8 percent from the field. As you can see from those statistics, Batum can impact a game in almost every single way that a team could possibly want.
At just 27-years-old, Batum would be a long-term pickup for the Knicks. He would fit nicely alongside the big three that the Knicks currently have in Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, and Kristaps Porzingis. Batum wouldn’t have a problem taking a backseat to those three players in the scoring column, although they would all likely want to get him involved.
Jeff Hornacek was hired as the Knicks’ new head coach this offseason and will likely implement a much faster offensive tempo. That would fit perfectly into the type of skill-set that Batum possesses.
If the Knicks truly want to get back into the playoffs, they need to bring in some consistent role players. Batum fits that description perfectly and would be the type of “glue” player that helps keep the team together.
New York still needs to bring in a lot of depth if they want to make a run at the playoffs in 2016-17. They traded away most of their depth when they acquired Rose from the Chicago Bulls. Adding another wing piece like Batum would be a big step in that direction, but they are going to need another big or two as well.
Obviously, the Knicks will not be the only team interested in signing Batum this offseason. They will be heavily competing with a handful of other suitors. If they want to sign him, they will need to come through with an impressive sales pitch.
This offseason will be one of the busiest offseasons that the NBA has ever seen. There is more money available for teams to spend than there have been in recent years and there are a lot of high-caliber free agents. Batum will be getting a low-level maximum contract, and the Knicks will be more than willing to pay that price.
Expect to hear a lot of rumors surrounding the Knicks this offseason and Batum being attached to a few of them. It wouldn’t be shocking to see them end up agreeing to a deal with the talented shooting guard.
Do you think the New York Knicks should sign Nicolas Batum this offseason in free agency? Would he help get the Knicks back into playoff contention in 2016-17? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Photo by Aaron Gash/AP Images]