The New York Knicks are looking to build themselves back to playoff contention in the Eastern Conference. It has been quite some time since they have been viewed as serious contenders, and Phil Jackson’s goal is to get them back to that point some time in the next few years.
Jackson made the move to acquire Derrick Rose from the Chicago Bulls this offseason, as ESPN originally reported. It was a move that may not work out due to Rose’s injury problems, but if he can stay healthy could push them into the playoffs. They also went out and brought in Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings in.
Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis are both left over from last season, which makes the Knicks look like a much more serious contender than they have been in recent years.
That being said, there is one player that the Knicks must target next offseason. There are going to be a lot of talented players available in free agency, but one could take them to the next level.
Blake Griffin will test the free agency market next offseason, and there are rumors that he could be open to leaving the Los Angeles Clippers. Rumors have been surrounding him all offseason that he could be traded.
Sean Deveney of Sporting News originally reported that the Boston Celtics were interested in acquiring Griffin from the Clippers, but nothing ever came of that report.
If the Knicks were able to acquire Griffin, it would change their entire future. Griffin has shown over the last couple of seasons that he can take his game to a new level. He has improved his offensive game, defensive game, playmaking game, and brings a ton of energy and excitement to the court.
Last season with the Clippers, Griffin ended up averaging 21.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game. He shot 49.9 percent from the floor overall and knocked down 72.7 percent from the foul line.
Those numbers would slide perfectly into the Knicks’ starting power forward role. He would fit nicely alongside Porzingis and would knock Joakim Noah to the bench to improve the Knicks’ overall depth. Adding that kind of a scoring punch is exactly what the Knicks need to do.
Rose will be a free agent following the 2016-17 season, but if New York is able to re-sign him, they would have a lethal four-headed monster. Griffin, Anthony, Porzingis, and Rose would be tough for any team to beat. They aren’t a championship contender right now, but Griffin would help push them to that point.
At 27-years-old, Griffin is the type of player that the Knicks could build around moving forward as well.
It will be interesting to see which teams line up with an interest in signing Griffin. He is going to be one of the most sought after free agents that the league has seen in quite some time. Griffin likely won’t reach the Kevin Durant status from this past offseason, but the hype surrounding him won’t be too far away.
New York can offer Griffin the night-life that he enjoys in Los Angeles, while also providing him with a chance to be the face of the franchise. Anthony may have been in New York longer, but Griffin would immediately be the headline player now that Anthony is aging a bit.
Expect to see the Knicks show serious interest in signing Griffin when free agency opens up next offseason. He is the perfect fit and Jackson must do everything in his power to get a visit with Griffin. If the Knicks seriously want to get back into championship contention, signing Griffin is the way to go.
Do you think the New York Knicks should aggressively pursue Blake Griffin next offseason? Would he power them back to being serious contenders in the Eastern Conference? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Photo by Danny Moloshok/AP Images]