Knicks get good value in Afflalo deal

Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks landed their first free agent of the offseason on Thursday when they agreed to terms with shooting guard Arron Afflalo.

Here are some things to consider when thinking about the Afflalo deal:

Good value

Given the current financial climate, the Knicks agreed to a contract that is very reasonable. Afflalo signed a two-year deal worth $16 million, per ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. The second year of Afflalo’s deal is a player option.

Getting Afflalo at $8 million looks especially good when you consider what other swingmen have received this offseason: DeMarre Carroll signed a four-year, $60 million deal with Toronto; Jae Crowder signed a reported five-year, $35 million deal with Boston; and Danny Green signed with San Antonio for four years and $45 million.

The contract also gives the Knicks flexibility in the future. If Afflalo wants to opt-in for 2016-17, he will do so at $8 million. That’s a very reasonable figure when you consider that the salary cap is projected to increase by more than $20 million in the summer of 2016.

What’s next?

The Knicks have about $19 million in cap space available after agreeing to terms with Afflalo.

So they should have enough money to make a competitive offer to the remaining big men on the market. They met with Robin Lopez on Wednesday night. New York is scheduled to meet with DeAndre Jordan and LaMarcus Aldridge on Thursday. The club missed out on its top target, Greg Monroe, who decided to sign with Milwaukee.

New York also expressed interest in Wesley Matthews, Monta Ellis and Tobias Harris, a restricted free agent with the Orlando Magic. But it is unlikely it will still pursue those players now that Afflalo is on board.

How can Afflalo help?

Afflalo gives the Knicks something they sorely lacked last season once Carmelo Anthony was hurt: a productive offensive player.

Afflalo is a career 38.5 percent 3-point shooter, and if he can duplicate that number this season, it would benefit a Knicks team that ranked 15th in 3-point shooting percentage (34.7) in 2014-15. He is likely start in the backcourt alongside veteran point guard Jose Calderon. Or he can potentially play small forward in a small-ball lineup. Adding Afflalo also means the Knicks can use Langston Galloway and rookie Jerian Grant as reserves in the backcourt.

In 2013-14, Afflalo averaged a career-high 18.2 points and 42.7 percent 3-point shooting with the Orlando Magic. Last season, though, his per-game averages dipped to 13.3 points on 42 percent shooting.

Defense may also be an issue for Afflalo, who ranked 72nd out of 99 shooting guards in defensive real plus-minus last season.

Still, this is a strong signing given the financials involved. Afflalo isn’t going to transform the franchise, but he should help it take a step forward from last year's disastrous 17-win season.