The New York Knicks find themselves looking down the barrel of a rebuilding process even if Phil Jackson is too stubborn to admit it. With Jackson and Carmelo Anthony not seeing eye-to-eye, a move must be made. The Knicks hold the 8th pick in the NBA Draft and will look to start their transition there, however, Free Agency is still their best shot to make the team whole again. While most fans are screaming for the big name players, Jackson should do his homework and find the players that are the best fit for the new direction.
Here are 5 players Phil Jackson should target in Free Agency.
If Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony can sit down and work out their issues, then signing Paul would be the smartest decision. Not saying that Derrick Rose was a bad move– he did rather well in his time in New York, but Paul is a different breed. A starting lineup that features Paul, Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis will instantly make the Knicks playoff contenders. But will it make them title contenders is the question Paul must have the answer to?
If Anthony is willing to let his NTC go out the window then the team will need to find a suitable replacement. Hayward is another Anthony on the offensive end, however, he’s a much better defensive player. To pair Hayward with Porzingis will give the Knicks one heck of a one-two punch depending on what they do in the draft and in terms of trades or other FA signings. But signing Hayward should be a priority.
Waiters is a wild card here. The Knicks must improve on the perimeter and Courtney Lee is not the answer. His defense was spotty at best in 2016 and hs offense was damn-near invisible. If the Knicks are to make major strides towards a better future, a player like Waiters is needed. Despite playing only 48 games in 2016, Waiters had his best season as a pro for the Miami Heat.
The issue with most teams when it comes to FA’s is– the name factor. Most GM’s go for the biggest name. While that may go over smooth in terms of marketability and ticket sales, fans want to see wins. The Knicks have tried this route numerous times and have failed. It may be time to go back to the basics of building a need by need than a name. Plumlee, if given starter minutes can produce at a high rate. In 2016, he averaged 11 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 block in 54 starts for the Portland Trail Blazers before being traded to the Denver Nuggets. Give Plumlee 32-35 minutes per game and he will provide a solid double-double nightly.
For some reason, Holiday’s name goes unmentioned when speaking of good PG’s. His numbers are up there in terms of production with an average of 15 points, 7 assists and 2 steals in 2016 while with the New Orleans Pelicans. Placing Holiday with Porzingis will give the Knicks a younger nucleus over Paul and K.P. and a player that will look to put his own stamp on the franchise.