As NBA free agency kicks into high gear for the New York Knicks, these are five realistic targets for the team to consider this summer.
The New York Knicks are in the middle of one of the most important offseasons in recent memory. New general manager Scott Perry is off to a hot start with the hiring of premiere head coaching candidate David Fizdale.
Unlike his fallen predecessor, team president Steve Mills was willing to let the fans in on what the plan was for this free agency period. Mills told Stephen A. Smith of ESPN Radio that the Knicks are looking ahead to the 2019 offseason.
“Our goal is to get our house in order, develop the foundation,” Mills said Thursday on ESPN Radio. “We are not going to be players this year. If we sign guys, it’s going to be for one-year contracts.”
There you have it Knicks fans. Actual words from the leader of your front office. New York isn’t looking to compromise their cap room for next summer by committing long-term. That makes sense.
With stars like Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, and Klay Thompson all potentially available the franchise must be in a position to be free agent players again. But New York can’t just run it back with the same team as last season.
The Knicks may be waiting patiently to spend big money on in 2019, but they can still find some good players to sign on reasonable deals right now.
These are the top five realistic free agency targets for the Knicks.
1. Mario Hezonja, SF, 23
Ian Begley of ESPN reported shortly after free agency began that there was mutual interest between the Knicks and Mario Hezonja. That makes sense considering Scott Perry was a member of the Orlando Magic front office in 2015 when they drafted Hezonja.
The 23-year-old showed promise as a rookie but hit a terrible sophomore slump and fell out of Frank Vogel’s rotation.
Hezonja didn’t play defense well enough for his new head coach, but he played the best ball of his career last season after Orlando declined the fourth-year option on his contract.
Hezonja had six 20 point games last season compared to just one in his first two seasons combined. The 6-foot-8 wing could be a good stats on a bad team in a contract year guy (what a perfectly acceptable mouthful), but he’s still worth a shot on a one-year deal.
Hezonja is a perfect target for New York. Despite his “breakout season” in 2017-18, there shouldn’t be a team in the Association willing to commit to him long term.