The New York Knicks will have big decisions to make this summer, which will likely dictate the direction of the franchise in the next several seasons. The Knicks looked as if they were headed down a better path earlier in the season, but they absorbed a huge blow after losing Kristaps Porzingis for the rest of the season.
It remains to be seen whether or not the Knicks will offer a contract extension to Porzingis in the offseason after the budding superstar sustained an ACL tear. Starting center Enes Kanter could also move elsewhere along with Kyle O’Quinn. According to Sara Peters of Bleacher Report, the Knicks should take a strong look at Clint Capela if they lose Kanter and O’Quinn in free agency in the offseason.
Marc Berman of the New York Post recently reported that Kanter might opt out of the final year of his contract to test the market this summer. O’Quinn could do the same, while Joakim Noah is not expected to return as well. Kanter and O’Quinn will demand a lucrative deal if they opt out, and the Knicks are unlikely to give in.
And to address their need for a frontline player in case Kanter moves elsewhere, Peters said that “going all-in” for Houston Rockets Clint Capela makes a lot of sense for the Knicks. The 23-year-old will become a restricted free agent after this season, and he is expected to get a lot of attention on the market.
Capela will bring the much-needed inside presence for the Knicks on both ends of the floor. He is averaging 14.3 points per game on 65 percent shooting from the field. He is also posting 11.0 rebounds on top of 1.7 blocks per game, which is the fifth-highest in the league at this point of the season.
The Knicks also have promising guards in Frank Ntilikina and Emmanuel Mudiay, who could become bigger threats playing alongside Capela. The Rockets center is effective in pick-and-roll situations, which could give Ntilikina and Mudiay more attacking options next season.
However, acquiring Capela in the offseason will not be easy. He is a restricted free agent, which means the Rockets have the rights to match any offer sheet to keep him in Houston. The only way the Knicks can get him is if they force the Rockets to let him go by overpaying Capela with a contract Houston is unlikely to match.