New York Knicks: Top 15 Targets in NBA Free Agency 2017 13
Jan 16, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday (11) dribbles the ball in the first half of the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Indiana Pacers beat New Orleans Pelicans 98-95.Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have big decisions to make when free agency starts on Saturday, July 1. These are the top 15 players they should target.

New York’s offseason predictably got off to a rocky start when James Dolan fired team president Phil Jackson three days before the start of free agency. It was the right move but at such the wrong time. Without Jackson, the game plan for the Knicks in free agency will be different.

Jeff Hornacek stated that the team would not be looking for players who fit the triangle offense. Jackson, the triangle, and the toxic culture he created were a black cloud hanging over the franchise heading into the offseason. ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported on June 22 that “players and agents increasingly look at the Knicks as a destination of absolute last resort.”

With Hornacek now having the freedom to coach his way, free agents will be more inclined to consider New York. We looked at some of those players. These are the top 15 players New York should target. In this feature, we focused on the point guard position.

We focused on New York’s positional needs. A starting point guard, some wing depth, three-point shooting, and help on the defensive glass.

According to sportrac.com, the Knicks should have a little less than $20 million in cap room. So, what should they do with it?

For a few of these names, I refer back to my under-the-radar free agents article.


Mar 6, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Tony Snell (21) dunks against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

15. Tony Snell, RFA

  • Position: Small Forward
  • Age: 25 (11/10/1991)
  • 2016-17 Averages: 29.2 MPG, 8.5 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.7 SPG
  • 2016-17 Slash Line: .455/.406/.810
  • 2016-17 Advanced Stats: 9.7 PER, 3.4 WS, -0.87 RPM

Remember when the Chicago media complained that Tom Thibodeau wasn’t playing Tony Snell during the playoffs? That was a little much. Back then Snell had no idea what he was doing on a basketball court.

However, in 2016-17, Snell had the best year of his career after a change of scenery in Milwaukee. Snell was traded to the Bucks for Michael Carter-Williams and flourished under head coach Jason Kidd.

Snell worked on his three-point shot last summer. He was over 40 percent from downtown for the first time in his career on 355 attempts from beyond the arc. His previous high in attempts was 197 in 2014-15.

Milwaukee liked what they saw because they made Snell a restricted free agent when they gave him that qualifying offer. Now they can match any deal he receives. It’s hard to sign away RFA, but New York should try.


Mar 19, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; Sacramento Kings shooting guard Langston Galloway (9) shoots the ball during the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

14. Langston Galloway, UFA

  • Position: Guard
  • Age: 25 (12/9/1991)
  • 2016-17 Averages: 20.2 MPG, 7.9 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.6 SPG
  • 2016-17 Slash Line: .380/.390/.797
  • 2016-17 Advanced Stats: 10.4 PER, 1.3 WS, -1.55 RPM

Langston Galloway’s first foray into free agency ended in disaster. He signed a nice two-year, $10 million deal (including a PO) with the Pelicans, but he ended up a part of the DeMarcus Cousins trade.

Galloway was planning to be in Louisiana, his home state, but the NBA is a business. The veteran ended up in Sacramento. Like most players who go to the Kings, Galloway didn’t like his time there.

The 25-year-old opted out of his contract and is a free agent. He’s likely to earn less than the $5 million that was owed to him on his current deal. Dude didn’t want to go back to Sacramento.

Galloway shot the three-point shot well again in 2016-17 but was terrible offensively in other areas. He shot just 36.7 percent on two-point attempts.

The former D-league star made just 35.5 percent of his mid-range jumpers and 46.4 percent of his attempts from the restricted area (via NBA.com).


Apr 11, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha (25) shoots the ball against the Charlotte Hornets in the fourth quarter at Philips Arena. The Hawks defeated the Hornets 103-76. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

13. Thabo Sefolosha, UFA

  • Position: SG/SF
  • Age: 33 (5/2/1994)
  • 2016-17 Averages: 25.7 MPG, 7.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.5 SPG
  • 2016-17 Slash Line: .441/.342/.733
  • 2016-17 Advanced Stats: 11.9 PER, 3.3 WS, 0.34 RPM

Thabo Sefolosha made a name for himself playing next to Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Thabo was the stud wing defender who picked up the slack for the two superstars.

He kept up that signature defensive play when he came to the Hawks in 2014-15. Now it looks like the team is getting younger, so they’re unlikely to keep him.

New York should take advantage of a good defender with a background as a winner. Sefolosha’s not going to blow you away on offense, but he’s a good plan B if they can’t retain Justin Holiday.

Sefolosha’s best years are behind him, but he’s still one of the better wing defenders in the league.


Apr 8, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston (34) directs teammates during action against the New Orleans Pelicans in the first quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

12. Shaun Livingston, UFA

  • Position: Point Guard
  • Age: 31 (9/11/1985)
  • 2016-17 Averages: 17.7 MPG, 5.1 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.5 SPG
  • 2016-17 Slash Line: .547/.333/.700
  • 2016-17 Advanced Stats: 10.1 PER, 2.6 WS, -2.74 RPM

I explained why Shaun Livingston would make a great fit for the Knicks in my 10 under-the-radar free agents piece. Now I think he’s an even better fit.

The two-time champion would make an excellent mentor/stop gap for Frank Ntilikina.

From my 10 under-the-radar piece:

Livingston is a champion, soon to be a two-time champion, with the Golden State Warriors and he’ll bring that type of leadership to a New York roster that is almost guaranteed not to have it.

Livingston was extremely efficient this season playing for arguably the best team of all time.

Per NBA.com, he made 55 of his 71 attempts in the restricted area (.775) and 68 of his 155 mid-range shots (.439).


Feb 4, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers guard C.J. Miles(0) points during a game against the Detroit Pistons at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

11. C.J. Miles, UFA

  • Position: SF
  • Age: 30 (4/18/1987)
  • 2016-17 Averages: 23.4 MPG, 10.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 0.6 SPG
  • 2016-17 Slash Line: .434/.413/.903
  • 2016-17 Advanced Stats: 13.8 PER, 4.0 WS, 0.35 RPM

C.J. Miles is another guy I already talked about. The reasons are obvious. Dude can shoot.

Previous feature:

Talk about having a contract year. C.J. Miles had the best shooting season of his 12-year career when he needed it the most. At age 30 this is his last chance to get seriously paid, and seriously paid he’s about to get.

While the rest of the league was going three-point crazy, Miles exploded in 2016-17 from beyond the arc. Entering the season, he was just a career 35.2 percent from downtown. Per NBA.com, 56.8 percent of his shots (nearly 5 per game) were catch and shoot threes and Miles converted on those at a 42.3 percent clip.

He made 50.8 percent of his corner threes. 50.8 percent! That’s crazy. Not a small sample size either, Miles was 66 of 130. Extremely impressive stuff.


Apr 12, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat forward James Johnson (16) crossed over Washington Wizards forward Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. The Heat won 110-102. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

10. James Johnson, UFA

  • Position: Forward
  • Age: 30 (2/20/1987)
  • 2016-17 Averages: 27.4 MPG, 12.8 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.0 SPG
  • 2016-17 Slash Line: .479/.340/.707
  • 2016-17 Advanced Stats: 17.0 PER, 5.1 WS, 2.36 RPM

James Johnson had the best season of his career. How many guys can we say that about after they go to the Miami Heat? There’s another guy later on in this list too.

Anyway, Johnson was phenomenal posting career-highs in points, rebounds, PER, and WS. Johnson also shot 34 percent from three-point range. Entering the season, he was a career 26.6 percent shooter from downtown.

The market on Johnson will be interesting, to say the least. He’s still in his prime but is unlikely to play like this anywhere else.

However, the Knicks should take a chance on him. Three-and-D guys man. Three-and-D.


Mar 29, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard Justin Holiday (8) drives against Miami Heat shooting guard Josh Richardson (0) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

9. Justin Holiday, UFA

  • Position: Shooting Guard
  • Age: 28 (4/5/1989)
  • 2016-17 Averages: 20.0 MPG, 7.7 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.8 SPG
  • 2016-17 Slash Line: .433/.355/.825
  • 2016-17 Advanced Stats: 12.7 PER, 2.5 WS, -0.33 RPM

Justin Holiday was the best reserve on the Knicks in 2016-17. He was arguably their best defender too. Their best wing defender anyway.

Even though Brandon Jennings came into the season with the hype of potentially winning the Sixth Man of the Year Award, Holiday outplayed him from the start.

Holiday was merely a throw-in during the Derrick Rose trade, and now it’s more likely he’ll be a Knick in 2017-18 than the former MVP.

That’s the way it should be too. Holiday’s shooting and defense off the bench were just as important as Rose’s drives to the basket.


Apr 5, 2017; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) reacts during the second half against the Oklahoma City Thunder at FedExForum. Oklahoma City Thunder defeats the Memphis Grizzlies 103-100. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

8. Zach Randolph, UFA

  • Position: Power Forward
  • Age: 35 (6/16/1981)
  • 2016-17 Averages: 24.5 MPG, 14.1 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.1 BPG
  • 2016-17 Slash Line: .449/.223/.731
  • 2016-17 Advanced Stats: 18.5 PER, 3.2 WS, -1.42 RPM

I love the idea of a Z-Bo reunion. Already wrote about that one too.

Here it is:

Randolph was still one of the best defensive rebounders in the game, and the Knicks need some major help in that area. In 2016-17, New York finished last in defensive rebounding percentage, last in opponent second chance points, and 24th in opponent points in the paint.

Memphis, on the other hand, is led by their interior defense. They were eighth in DRB percentage (Randolph was first on the squad in the stat), fourth in opponent second chance points, and first in opponent points in the paint.

That astronomically high usage percentage is strange. Randolph had the 15th highest usage percentage in the entire Association.

He was ahead of guys like Paul George, Kemba Walker, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Durant.


Mar 15, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters (11) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans guard Wayne Selden Jr. (25) during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

7. Dion Waiters, UFA

  • Position: Shooting Guard
  • Age: 25 (12/10/1991)
  • 2016-17 Averages: 30.1 MPG, 15.8 PPG, 4.3 APG, 3.3 RPG, 0.9 SPG
  • 2016-17 Slash Line: .424/.395/.646
  • 2016-17 Advanced Stats: 14.5 PER, 1.6 WS, 0.05 RPM

A breakout season for Dion Waiters. He only played in 46 games but posted career-highs in PER, VORP, and tied his career-high in win shares.

Waiters entered the season averaging 33.4 percent from three-point range. He shot nearly 40 percent from downtown in 2016-17.

The 25-year-old is a risk due to the way he plays, but he’s one of those guys who isn’t effective unless he plays in his unique style.

Miami could decide they got the best out of him and let him walk. The Knicks should take advantage if that’s the case.


Apr 10, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Jeff Teague (44) shoots the ball as Philadelphia 76ers guard Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (20) defends during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

6. Jeff Teague, UFA

  • Position: Point Guard
  • Age: 29 (6/10/1988)
  • 2016-17 Averages: 32.4 MPG, 15.3 PPG, 7.8 APG, 4.0 RPG, 1.2 SPG
  • 2016-17 Slash Line: .442/.357/.867
  • 2016-7 Advanced Stats: 19.2 PER, 8.1 WS, 1.64 RPM

I’m not a big Jeff Teague fan, but there’s evidence to suggest that the Knicks adore this guy.

New York has coveted Teague for a long time. It’s going back years to when he was on the Hawks.

They didn’t have the pieces to pull off a trade this past summer and instead went and got Rose. Now Teague is a free agent. He’ll command more money than he’s worth.

Ian Begley reported that the two sides had mutual interest. So, there’s that. The Knicks just need a point guard. Frank’s not ready yet.


Mar 19, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward P.J. Tucker (2) reacts during the first quarter in a game against the Indiana Pacers at Air Canada Centre. The Toronto Raptors won 116-91. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

5. P.J. Tucker, UFA

  • Position: Small Forward
  • Age: 32 (5/5/1985)
  • 2016-17 Averages: 27.6 MPG, 6.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.4 SPG, 1.2 APG
  • 2016-17 Slash Line: .413/.357/.774
  • 2016-17 Advanced Stats: 10.5 PER, 3.6 WS, 1.09 RPM

Tucker’s a former Jeff Hornacek guy (in Phoenix), and the Knicks were linked to him at the trade deadline.

He was in the under-the-radar piece too:

If Tucker were three years younger, he’d be No. 1 on this list. He’s an excellent defender and is coming off the best shooting season of his career.

According to NBA.com, Tucker was particularly accurate from the corners. On corner threes, he was an impressive 39.2 percent.

He’s smart too. 153 of his 196 three-point attempts came from the corners. Tucker knows where to go on the court.

Tucker’s value comes in his defense. He’s a small forward, but he can guard power forwards and as Hornacek pointed out even some centers.


Apr 21, 2017; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz guard George Hill (3) drives past LA Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) in the fourth quarter in game three of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

4. George Hill, UFA

  • Position: Point Guard
  • Age: 31 (5/4/1986)
  • 2016-17 Averages: 31.5 MPG, 16.9 PPG, 4.2 APG, 3.4 RPG, 1.0 SPG
  • 2016-17 Slash Line: .477/.403/.801
  • 2016-17 Advanced Stats: 19.3 PER, 5.9 WS, 3.75 RPM

George Hill’s days in Utah are numbered after the Jazz just traded for Ricky Rubio. They must’ve gotten the heads up he wasn’t coming back.

Ian Begley reported that some in the Knicks organization like Hill. Of course, they do. He’s coming off the best season of his career.

Hill entered this season as an 11.3 points per game scorer. He averaged nearly 17 points per game.

There’s going to be a huge market for him. Even at 31, a lot of people will love him.


Mar 27, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Dewayne Dedmon (3) dunks the ball against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

3. Dewayne Dedmon, UFA

  • Position: Center
  • Age: 27 (8/12/1989)
  • 2016-17 Averages: 17.5 MPG, 5.1 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 0.8 BPG
  • 2016-17 Slash Line: .622/.000/.699
  • 2016-17 Advanced Stats: 16.0 PER, 5.2 WS, 2.31 RPM

Don’t sleep on Dewayne Dedmon. As an analytics nerd (I say it proudly Lou Williams), I love the idea of adding him.

Under-the-radar:

Dedmon was in the top-ten in defensive rebound rate (via ESPN) among names like Hassan Whiteside and DeAndre Jordan. As pointed out earlier, New York was in desperate need of assistance on the defensive glass.

For the second straight season, Dedmon was one of the best defensive players in the league. He was fifth in the entire league in defensive real plus-minus and dominated while protecting the rim.

According to NBA.com, Dedmon lowered the opponent’s field goal percentage within six feet of the rim by a large -10.4 percent. Porzingis needs another big man who can help him out on defense and Dedmon can be that guy.

He’s a cheaper and more likely option than Jamychal Green. Also, he’s just a year older. Not as much upside (Dedmon has no offense outside the rim), but it’s the right move for New York if they can get him.


Apr 21, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Taj Gibson (22) drives to the basket in front of Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) during the fourth quarter in game three of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

2. Taj Gibson, UFA

  • Position: Power Forward
  • Age: 32 (6/24/1985)
  • 2016-17 Averages: 25.5 MPG, 10.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.8 BPG, 0.5 SPG
  • 2016-17 Slash Line: .515/.231/.715
  • 2016-17 Advanced Stats: 15.0 PER, 4.0 WS, 0.26 RPM

I haven’t seen Taj Gibson to the Knicks anywhere, and I don’t get it. He’s an excellent rebounder and interior defender.

Taj would look great next to Porzingis. He’d help him on defense like Willy Hernangomez can’t and occasionally make plays on offense too.

The Knicks will have stiff competition from the Thunder to bring Gibson back. They traded for him at the deadline and likely don’t want to lose him after a few months.

Either way, the Knicks don’t have a lot of playoff experience on their roster. Gibson would make an excellent veteran leader for a young squad.


Mar 14, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday (11) drives down court against the Portland Trail Blazers during the first quarter of a game at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

1. Jrue Holiday, UFA

  • Position: Point Guard
  • Age: 27 (6/12/1990)
  • 2016-17 Averages: 32.7 MPG, 15.4 PPG, 7.3 APG, 3.9 RPG, 1.5 SPG
  • 2016-17 Slash Line: .454/.356/.708
  • 2016-17 Advanced Stats: 17.1 PER, 3.8 WS, 1.82 RPM

Jrue Holiday is the pipe dream. Every year every team has one in free agency. For the Knicks, we tell ourselves that we have a chance at Jrue because of his brother.

The odds are long, but at least we’ll know very soon.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne is saying that Holiday will tell teams on Saturday whether he’s returning to New Orleans or if he’ll hear other pitches.

Holiday has to be the Knicks top target. He’s the top point guard available that the Knicks have a realistic shot at.

 NEXT: The New York Knicks and Frank Ntilikina (Ntilinka) Off to a Rough Start 


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