<
>

Knicks meet with Pistons' Greg Monroe

The New York Knicks began the free agency period by meeting with Detroit Pistons big man Greg Monroe after midnight on Wednesday, league sources said.

Monroe, a 6-foot-11 power forward/center, is one of New York’s top free-agent targets. It is unclear at this point if the Knicks offered Monroe a contract during the meeting, which reportedly took place in Washington, D.C., but Monroe is believed to be seeking a maximum contract worth approximately $15 million per year. According to a report by ESPN's Chris Broussard and Marc Stein, Monroe met with the Milwaukee Bucks after the Knicks and is scheduled to meet with the Lakers.

Offering Monroe a maximum contract would leave the Knicks with less than $12 million to spend in free agency.

The Knicks are also expected to meet with Portland Trail Blazers big man LaMarcus Aldridge and Los Angeles Clippers free-agent center DeAndre Jordan in the coming days in Los Angeles, sources told Broussard.

Most league executives see Monroe as a more realistic target for New York than either Aldridge or Jordan. Monroe averaged 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game last season. Scouts view him as a strong offensive player near the basket who has shortcomings on the defensive end.

New York has a void at center (it has no center under contract for next season) and is expected to be aggressive in that position in free agency.

The Knicks, who are also in the market for guards, reached out to Houston’s restricted free agent Patrick Beverley, league sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. The Knicks have only three backcourt players under contract (Jose Calderon, Langston Galloway and rookie Jerian Grant).

The club has a specific need at shooting guard and has expressed interest in Portland’s Wesley Matthews and Arron Afflalo and San Antonio’s Danny Green, league sources said. New York “wants to be in” the mix for Green, who averaged 14.7 points per game and made 41.8 percent of his 3-point attempts last season. The 6-foot-6 Green is also viewed as a strong defender.

Green said he'd open to listening to the Knicks' pitch.

“For sure – anybody turning down a meeting with them would be crazy,’’ Green said Tuesday night on 98.7 ESPN's "Hahn and Humpty Show." “It starts with them and Melo as well.’’

He added: "I don’t think people are scared of the Knicks. They’re rebuilding.... Some guys want to go where they’re already winning. They get a couple of good pieces this summer, I’m sure it’ll attract more guys."

Matthews is coming off an Achillies injury and reports indicate that he may be ready to return to the court early in the regular season. Prior to his injury, Matthews established himself as a strong shooter who can defend on the perimeter.

Broussard reported on Monday that the Knicks will seek a meeting with Matthews. League sources familiar with Matthews’ thinking said on Tuesday that he will consider the Knicks as a significant option among several available to him.

Afflalo is also seen as a strong offensive piece and members of the organization believe he will be a good fit in New York due to his relationship with Carmelo Anthony.

Some in the Knicks organization also see Tobias Harris as a potential free-agent fit, according to sources. The 6-8 small forward is a restricted free agent and Orlando Magic GM Rob Hennigan has stated publicly that he plans to match any offers to Harris. If Orlando changed its mind, the Knicks would be a front-runner for Harris, a New York native. Sources with knowledge of Harris’ thinking said on Tuesday that he would welcome the opportunity to play for the Knicks.

New York has approximately $26 million to spend in free agency. The Knicks’ meeting with Monroe was first reported by Yahoo, as was the team's interest in Arron Afflalo.