ORLANDO, Fla. -- Many agents in touch with the New York Knicks continue to get the impression that they are looking for younger players on the free-agent market and don't want to overspend.
Depending on how the market plays out, that could remove the Knicks from consideration for 31-year-old free-agent George Hill.
The Knicks hope to sign a veteran to pair with rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina. They have had contact with free agents Rajon Rondo and Darren Collison, per sources, but the contact did not include substantive conversations with either player's representatives.
The Knicks would have about $15 million in cap space if they renounce their rights to Rose. That would allow them to sign free agents but would probably limit them to spending no more than $10-11 million on one player.
New York could create more cap space if it traded one of its players. Courtney Lee and Kyle O'Quinn are candidates. The Knicks could also open up cap space by trading Carmelo Anthony. Members of the organization have told people around the league that at this point, they remain hopeful that they can trade Anthony.
The Knicks and Houston Rockets touched base last month on an Anthony deal, but New York was not interested in Ryan Anderson, per league sources. It seems that Houston would need to bring in a third team to complete an Anthony deal.
Meanwhile, Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said Saturday that big man Kristaps Porzingis is ready to be the focal point of the offense, a statement Hornacek hadn't made in the past and one that Phil Jackson shied away from in his last news conference as team president.
"That's his next steps in his growth as a player, to be able to handle some of that," Hornacek said after a Knicks summer league game. "He's going to have to take that next step of taking over. I think he's probably ready for that."
This didn't seem to be Hornacek's way of trying to smooth things over between the organization and its 21-year-old star. Hornacek seemed to simply be stating that the next progression for Porzingis is to be an offensive focal point.
Ron Baker, who signed a two-year deal to remain with the Knicks, shared his thoughts on Jackson's firing: "Obviously, I really enjoyed Phil Jackson. He's taught me a lot this past year. He wasn't only a mentor of mine. He was a really good friend. A couple of weeks ago we were playing catch in the training room before my first pitch [at a Kansas City Royals game]. I wish Phil the best. I'm going to miss him, and that's just kind of how the business goes sometimes."