Who will Knicks target after missing out on Monroe?

Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks missed out on free-agent big man Greg Monroe, who agreed to a max deal with the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.

Here’s a look at what this means for New York:

A big loss?

Monroe would have given the Knicks a strong, consistent scoring presence in the paint, where he averaged 11.5 points per game last season -- the fifth-highest total in the NBA. He is one of four players who have averaged at least 15 points and nine rebounds in each of the last four seasons (DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Love and Dwight Howard are the others).

But missing out on Monroe may be a blessing in disguise for the Knicks, as some scouts view the 25-year-old as a sub-par defender around the rim.

As such, a front line of Monroe at center (New York viewed Monroe as a center) and Anthony at small forward or power forward may have struggled defending talented front lines.

What does this mean for Phil?

Agent David Falk told ESPN's Chris Broussard and other media outlets that the Knicks offered Monroe a max contract, as did the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers. But Falk said that Monroe chose Milwaukee because the Bucks gave him a chance to win in the more immediate future.

If Monroe had equal offers from all four teams and turned down the Knicks, that’s not a great sign for Phil Jackson.

What’s next?

The Knicks have $19 million to spend and still have their eyes on a big man. They met with Robin Lopez on Wednesday night and, according to a source with knowledge of the talks, Lopez came away with a positive impression of New York.

“Interest is mutual," a source said. "That’s for sure.”

The Knicks are scheduled to meet with DeAndre Jordan and LaMarcus Aldridge on Thursday. But New York entered the meeting a long shot to sign Jordan, sources said. The same appears to be true for Aldridge.

So the most likely target for the Knicks at this point is Lopez, who is a solid rebounder and rim defender -- something the Knicks lacked last season. Signing Lopez also may allow Anthony to play more minutes at power forward.