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Three Free Agents the Knicks Should Target, and Three They Should Stay Away From

With the 2020-21 NBA season seeming like a distant memory now, all the focus turns to next season, and most importantly, these very crucial next few weeks. The NBA Draft is fast approaching, it’s on Thursday, July 29, and free agency starts on Monday, August 2, so most NBA teams are going to look very different soon as next season looms. 

The New York Knicks seem to always be everywhere in the news when it comes to trade scenarios, which prospects they’re targeting in the draft, or who they might offer a contract to in free agency. With so many names being linked to the Knicks in terms of free agency, I have a lot of opinions, so I thought I would make a list of three free agents that they should target, and three they should definitely stay away from:

  • Target: Lonzo Ball (New Orleans Pelicans)
    • Many fans are divided about whether or not the Knicks should get Lonzo, but I am in the camp that wants him. This team needs a long-term solution at point guard, and Ball fits the timeline perfectly. He is 23 years old, so he works perfectly in the development of RJ Barrett, who is 21, and Julius Randle, who is 26. Just finishing his fourth season, Ball has made strides every year that show he’s willing to put in the work and improve. He’s always been a gifted passer, which is important as the Knicks desperately need playmaking, but Ball has also improved vastly as a three-point shooter, making over 38% of his three’s, which will continue to increase as he develops the shot further. He’s the best point guard in this free agency for the Knicks to target, and for $20 million a year, he is worth a reasonable amount of money that won’t break the bank.
  • Stay Away From: Kelly Oubre, Jr. (Golden State Warriors)
    • There have been a lot of reports out there about the Knicks’ interest in Oubre, but none of them have really been from legitimate sources (ESPN, The Athletic, etc.), so I’m not super inclined to believe these rumors. But I still don’t think Oubre should be on the Knicks radar, mainly because of his inconsistent shooting. The team needs wings that can make shots and take defensive pressure away from Randle, who’s weaknesses were exposed in the playoffs. He’s a career 32% from three, which is not even close to good enough for the Knicks who need scoring on the wing. He’s a good defender, but his talents would be better suited on a team that already has shooting.
  • Target: Evan Fournier (Boston Celtics)
    • Traded from the Orlando Magic to Boston at the deadline, there were reports then that the Knicks were mulling a move for him (and Ball), but they ultimately stuck with their original group. Unlike Oubre, Fournier is an actual threat from the three-point line, shooting 41% this year. He is an efficient scorer and is having a strong showing on the France national team at the Olympics. He might demand a sizable contract, which is the only caveat, but he likely will not demand the max or anything that will hurt New York financially moving forward. He’s not my top choice for a wing (see below), but I will certainly be satisfied if the Knicks sign him. 
  • Stay Away From: Spencer Dinwiddie (Brooklyn Nets)
    • As a Knicks fan, there is one major reason I hate Dinwiddie being rumored to the Knicks: he has spent years trashing the organization, calling out previous incompetence and saying no one wants to play there. He was right then, and it was part of a hometown rivalry being on the Nets, but that is not a guy I want on this team. It might seem silly because he’s a good player, but with his ACL injury that’s kept him out most of the year, he is not worth the upwards of $25 million that he is hoping to get. This team was so successful this year because of their chemistry and choosing a point guard in a guy that has gone out of his way to trash the team is NOT someone they should want to overpay. No thank you!
  • Target: Norman Powell (Portland Trailblazers)
    • Powell is my number one choice at the wing for the Knicks this free agency. He was another who was rumored in trades at the deadline, but he ended up being traded to Portland. While Portland has made it a priority to re-sign him, I hope the Knicks pull out all the stops to get him. He averaged 18.6 points this year, on over 40% shooting from three. He’s a solid 3-and-D player, being a solid defender who will fit seamlessly alongside Barrett and Randle. Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau is reportedly obsessed with Powell, and I think he would add a bolster of scoring that this team needs, especially in the playoffs. Do everything you can, New York!
  • Stay Away From: Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors)
    • With the Raptors moving toward a rebuild, it’s more of a certainty than speculation that Lowry will be somewhere else at the start of next season. It’s been reported that the Knicks are one of the teams that’s interested in him, and I was ok with this, until I saw how much he was looking for. He wants a contract for three years that will give him about $90 million. My issue: I don’t think he’s a $30 million a year guy anymore, and I really don’t think New York should spend that money on him for three years, as he is 35 now and his best basketball seems behind him. I wouldn’t mind a 1+1 deal, with a team option on the second year, but Lowry seems to want to make a place home, and I don’t blame him. I like him, but not that much. Overpaying him now means the team won’t have enough money to pay marquee free agents in 2022. We need to have money for that.

That’s where I stand on some of the most talked about names in free agency for the New York Knicks. My advice: don’t overpay anybody, find quality upgrades at the point guard and wing positions, and fill out the rest of the roster with role players. The Knicks have to build on the success of this year and continue to improve, and it starts next week. Buckle up, folks, things are about to get crazy! 

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