With the New York Knicks in the market for a “shooting big” this offseason, here are five potential options to fill that role.
According to SNY’s Ian Begley, the New York Knicks are interested in bringing in a shooting big man to their already crowded frontcourt, either through free agency or the draft. The duo of Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson are heavy on the interior, so adding a stretch big could help with the team’s spacing on offense.
This year’s draft is loaded with stud guards and polarizing big men, who through development, could turn into phenomenal stretch options down the line. However, the Knicks will likely want an immediate impact player so it can begin to sway marquee names to the Garden.
The max contract slots opened up via the Kristaps Porzingis trade need to be filled sooner rather than later and it surely stings to be in the market for a shooting big man after trading away the Latvian Unicorn, however, no other sports market is as enticing as New York.
Impact free agents have been tough to come by in recent years, but the search for a shooting big man in 2020 could provide a solid enough supporting cast to begin to change the tides for the Knicks.
Here are five options the Knicks need to consider:
Wood has been the No. 1 name circling around Knicks camp in recent months. Begley reported back in March that members of the front office have been enamored with the UNLV product since his breakout season began to gain some mainstream attention.
For the lowly Pistons, Wood produced upon his promotion to the starting lineup after bouncing around multiple cities and G League visits across his five-year career. Following the Andre Drummond trade, Wood averaged 23 points, 10 rebounds, and shot 40% from deep, including a career-high 32 points against Philadelphia the night the NBA suspended play.
The big man was just starting to trend towards a solid payday in free agency this year, and the Knicks could benefit from the small sample size. One could assume that Wood would continue to put the league on watch, but now that his season is over, the Knicks can capitalize on a cheaper option.
Staying in-house is certainly another option for the Knicks, as picking up Portis’ team option would certainly fit the bill. Portis, 25, has had a difficult career, bouncing around from Chicago to D.C. and then to New York. Despite the several moves and an embarrassing suspension in 2017 with Chicago, Portis has made steady improvements on the court.
The former first-round pick has shown solid offensive efficiency throughout his career, especially behind the arc. After shooting a mere 30.8% in his rookie season, Portis’s percentage jumped to 39.3 in 2018 between the Bulls and Wizards. His improvement led to the Knicks signing the big man to a one-plus-one deal.
That breakout didn’t come, however, as Portis dropped back down to a middling 35.8 three-point shooting percentage while only starting five games in a crowded frontcourt. Still, the potential is there at such a ripe age, and a cheap option for a guy who loves to compete under the spotlight at Madison Square Garden could be a worthwhile option.
— Bobby BP Portis (@BPortistime) June 10, 2020
It has been 10 years since Gallinari was traded to Denver for superstar Carmelo Anthony, but the Knicks should welcome a reunion with the Italian sniper. Although never transforming into the star many envisioned, Gallinari has been one of the better deep range shooters in the league over the past decade.
Galo shot 44.4% from three his rookie year in New York and hadn’t shot over 40% from deep until his past two seasons with the Clippers and Thunder. Now is as good a time as ever to snag Gallinari on the open market.
With Oklahoma City having looked to move the stretch big prior to the trade deadline, it’s safe to assume the veteran will find a new home next season. New York could be one of those destinations, but competing teams such as the Miami Heat have remained firmly in the hunt.
After spending three years perfecting his craft under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, Bertans had a breakout year in Washington with increased minutes. Despite coming off the bench, Bertans shot 42.4% from three while averaging nearly double his previous career-high of 8.0 points per game with 15.4.
Bertans is an elite shooter, and his asking price will most likely be very high. He will have the opportunity with the NBA’s resumption in Orlando to garner even more interest with a pristine showing, but with Washington beginning to emerge from their rebuild, it may be difficult to pry Bertans away from the nation’s capital.
Maybe now’s the time for the Knicks to invite another Latvian back to the city.
This is the dark horse option for New York, as Saric has fallen off since his peak performances in Philly during “The Process.” But after a down shooting year in Phoenix this season now could be the time for the Knicks to make a high-risk, high-reward move for the Croatian.
Saric has struggled to consistently provide a spark behind the arc during his four-year career, but his flashes of reliability give teams in pursuit of a cheap shooting option with a justified signing. The potential for a big reward outweighs the minimal risks of spending a few million on the sharpshooter and the Knicks have all the room for incorporating Saric into the lineup.