Phil Jackson’s first free agency as Knicks president is upon us. He won’t have much money to throw at free agents. If the roster remains as is (with or without Carmelo Anthony), the Knicks will have only the mini mid-level exception (worth $3.3 million) and the veteran’s minimum exception to offer free agents.
So the Zen Master will need to go bargain shopping this summer. Here’s a look at five potential players the Knicks can target:
Pau Gasol: Gasol won two rings under Jackson in Los Angeles, enjoying some of the best success of his career. So it makes sense that Jackson would make a run at Gasol. ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne reports that the Knicks will pursue Gasol this summer. The veteran center would have to take a hefty pay cut to end up in New York. He made $19 million last season. It’s unclear how much he can command on the open market, but it’s fair to assume that it will be more than $3 million annually.
Jordan Hill: The Lakers big man and former Knicks first round pick will hit the market and could be the kind of rebounder the Knicks need off the bench. Hill pulled down 12.8 rebounds per 36 minutes with Los Angeles last season. He made $3.5 million last season so he’d appear to be within the Knicks’ price range.
Andrew Bynum: Bynum’s reputation and career is in need of repair after the disaster that was his past two seasons in the NBA. If anyone can get him back on track, it’s Phil, whom Bynum enjoyed success with in Los Angeles. Bynum was limited to just two games with Indiana after signing a veteran’s minimum contract to join the Pacers.
Mike Miller: Historically, strong 3-point shooters have thrived in Jackson’s attack, so Miller could be a good fit. He hit 46 percent of his threes last season and hit an average of 2.3 per game for the Grizzlies. Miller played last season on a veteran’s minimum contract after being amnestied by the Heat last summer.
Steve Blake: The Knicks have eight guards on the roster right now so, unless they move some of them off of the roster, they are unlikely to chase any guards in free agency. But if they do free up space at the point guard position, look for them to target Blake as a replacement. The 34-year-old averaged 6.9 points and 5.6 assists in 27 minutes per game last year.
Question: Who would you like to see the Knicks go after in free agency?
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