With a 21-45 record at the time the NBA suspended operations due to the coronavirus pandemic in March, the New York Knicks won’t be playing any more games in the 2019-20 season, as they weren’t among the 22 teams invited to resume regular-season action in Orlando, Florida next month. This frees them up to focus on the upcoming rookie draft and free-agency period, the latter of which could reportedly see them prioritizing veteran big men with a good shooting touch from outside. According to a recent report, these may include erstwhile Toronto Raptors starters Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka.
On Wednesday, Bleacher Report listed a number of possible free-agent targets for the Knicks in the 2020 offseason, noting that a separate story from SportsNet New York‘s Ian Begley had mentioned the team’s need for a sweet-shooting big man. While Begley suggested that Danilo Gallinari (Oklahoma City Thunder) and Christian Wood (Detroit Pistons) may be among New York’s most likely options, Bleacher Report differed in its recommendations, starting out by explaining why Gasol could be a good fit at center.
As seen on Basketball-Reference‘s Raptors team page, Gasol’s numbers, especially in scoring, have been down this season, as he is averaging just 7.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.4 assists and shooting 41.9 percent from the field. However, Bleacher Report pointed out that the 35-year-old is still sinking 1.4 three-pointers per game at an impressive 40.2 percent clip. He also has a solid NBA resume that includes one Defensive Player of the Year award.
Serge Ibaka was feeling this dunk ???? pic.twitter.com/LN7fTnu7PA
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) November 7, 2019
At power forward, Gasol’s frontcourt partner Ibaka was the first player mentioned as a possible offseason pickup for New York. He is currently averaging a career-high 16 points, along with 8.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game and shooting percentages of 51.8 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from three-point range.
Aside from the two Toronto big men, Bleacher Report suggested another pair of veteran forward/centers — Kelly Olynyk of the Miami Heat and Frank Kaminsky of the Phoenix Suns — as potential targets for the Knicks in free agency.
“The Knicks have some promising, young talent in [Mitchell] Robinson, RJ Barrett and Kevin Knox, and adding a player with a different skill set to the frontcourt could help immensely in New York becoming competitive again in the Eastern Conference,” the publication wrote.
Apart from the expected plan to prioritize outside shooting when it comes to free-agent big men, recent reports have hinted at some of New York’s other rumored moves in the 2020 offseason. These might include trading starting power forward Julius Randle, who averaged 19.5 points and 9.7 rebounds, but notably struggled as an outside shooter in the 2019-20 season.