From being the 4-seed in the Eastern Conference during the 2020-21 season to missing the playoffs entirely this year, the New York Knicks seem to find themselves scrambling for answers yet again entering the offseason.
The 2020-21 season feels like so long ago now even though just a year ago, Julius Randle was a first-time All-Star, Tom Thibodeau was the league’s Coach of the Year and the Knicks had made the playoffs for the first-time since 2013.
While Randle is still a part of the team, there are questions about his future given that he did not have as quite of a successful season as he did last season. There are also questions about what direction this front-office is looking to take New York in, especially given that not much stands out about their older roster right now.
Of the 13 players under contract for the 2022-23 season, seven of them are 27-years-old or older and there is a massive hole in the backcourt that this team must fill.
Derrick Rose’s status is up-in-the-air given his age and the fact that he is coming off of two ankle procedures and after a lot of hype surrounded the signing of Kemba Walker last offseason, it seems like the organization is going to look to part ways with the former All-Star this offseason.
Walker was benched multiple times during the 2021-22 season and with the emergence of Immanuel Quickley in the backcourt, it is hard to believe that the Knicks will look to keep Kemba Walker through the summer.
While they could move forward with Quickley as their starting point guard, it does seem very likely that team president Leon Rose and GM Scott Perry are going to be looking to add another experienced guard that can help take this team back to the playoffs.
Who this player will be is yet to be determined, but the Knicks do have several options that they are evaluating right now.
D’Angelo Russell - Minnesota Timberwolves
Much like the New York Knicks, the Minnesota Timberwolves are a team that is going to be looking to better themselves in order to make a real playoff run during the 2022-23 season.
Making the playoffs via the Western Conference Play-In Tournament was a big step in the right direction for the Timberwolves as a franchise, but now is their time to capitalize on their success during the 2021-22 season.
Things will not be getting easier for them and with Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards both being high-level talents playing the best basketball of their respective careers, Minnesota could entertain the idea of moving former All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell for more value.
Russell struggled near the end of this season and he has just one more year left on his contract, putting the Timberwolves in a tight spot to decide whether or not they should extend him long-term.
There were some reports in early May stating that Minnesota could show interest in moving D’Angelo Russell and going to the Knicks could work out well for the 26-year-old guard.
Not only would he slide right into the starting point guard position there, but he would be able to play off of other offensive talents in Julius Randle and RJ Barrett. Not to mention, Tom Thibodeau’s system relies heavily on guards who can score in isolation, something that Russell has been known to do throughout the years.
Making $31.3 million during the 2022-23 season in the final year of his contract, the Knicks would not be tied down to Russell long-term and should this fit not work out, they would be able to utilize his expiring contract to pursue a bigger name in 2023 free agency.
Malcolm Brogdon - Indiana Pacers
Looking to “re-tool” instead of “rebuild”, the Indiana Pacers are open and being receptive to possibly trading veteran guard Malcolm Brogdon this offseason.
Brogdon has missed a handful of times for the Pacers throughout the years due to injuries and with them acquiring Tyrese Halbiurton at the trade deadline this past season, Brogdon’s long-term fit has come into question.
He did recently sign a two-year extension with Indiana, keeping him under contract through the 2024-25 season, but Brogdon is being pursued by several teams right now, the New York Knicks being one of them.
Being a two-way guard out on the perimeter, Malcolm Brogdon would be a really solid fit in New York because of his ability to score off-the-dribble and control his team's offense.
Taking pressure off of Randle and Barrett is essential for the Knicks and that is exactly what they would be getting from Brogdon being the leader of their backcourt.
Owed $67.6 million over the next three seasons, Brogdon is one of the more affordable backcourt options on the trade block this offseason and can definitely bring value to any team in the league if he can stay healthy.
The Knicks have plenty of moveable contracts on their roster that they could leverage in a deal for Malcolm Brogdon and being a very capable scorer that can get 20-plus points on any given night, he would give New York’s offense a major boost.
John Wall - Houston Rockets
He is one of the more expensive options available on the trade market right now, but the good thing about trading for John Wall from the New York Knicks’ point of view is that he is well rested and eager to get back on the floor.
The former All-Star point guard has not played since the 2020-21 season, as he sat out the entire 2021-22 season with the Houston Rockets due to he and management working on his future in this league.
Wall was almost traded to the Los Angeles Lakers at the trade deadline, but the deal fell apart after Los Angeles was unwilling to budge on their offer.
Entering this offseason, the Rockets will continue to try and move John Wall if possible and while little teams can acquire his $47.3 million contract, the Knicks can open up the space to bring him in.
There are a couple of reasons as to why they may want to do so.
Not only could New York be getting an All-Star-level guard to pair with Randle and Barrett for one season, but they could get out of long-term, unwanted contracts they are currently tied down to.
Evan Fournier, Nerlens Noel, Derrick Rose and Alec Burks are all under contract past the 2022-23 season and could be packaged together in a trade to acquire Wall. This not only brings the Knicks the talent they need in the backcourt, but gives them a chance to go after plenty of other big name free agents in 2023, similar to the situation with trading for D’Angelo Russell outlined earlier.
New York may not have to surrender any valuable draft compensation either to acquire Wall, as the Rockets are looking to dump him for anything of value at this point entering the offseason.
It is hard to believe that the Knicks will have such an investment high atop of their priorities list entering the offseason, but nonetheless, John Wall still remains an option for them.
Tyus Jones - Memphis Grizzlies
Looking at options in free agency, the first name that comes to mind for the New York Knicks is Tyus Jones for many reasons.
Not only is he coming off a terrific season with the Memphis Grizzlies in which he served as Ja Morant’s backup, starting in 23 regular season games and 3 playoff games due to Morant being injured, but Jones has a prior relationship with Knicks’ head coach Tom Thibodeau.
Coaching the Timberwolves from 2016-2019, Thibodeau had Jones a part of his team for a year and was interested in the young guard's development. He was only in Minnesota for one season, but Tyus Jones showed flashes of his two-way potential, something the Knicks’ head coach is very fond of in young guards.
Proving to be a factor in pick-and-roll situations offensively and also being an on-ball presence defensively, Jones really came into his own this season with the Grizzlies and is expected to see a major payday in free agency.
Being an unrestricted free agent, Memphis may not be willing to pay Jones’ asking price, especially if he receives a competitive offer from a team like the Knicks.
Having the $10.3 million non-taxpayer mid-level exception, New York could look to offer Tyus Jones a contract using this full amount. Anywhere from a three-year, $30 million to $45 million deal is on the table for Jones this offseason.
A solid facilitator and very high IQ guard that understands where to be on the floor before plays develop, Jones is expected to carry a lot of interest once free agency actually begins.
Not having to pay him a max-level contract, signing Tyus Jones allows the Knicks to possibly pursue more talent either on the trade market or in free agency this offseason.
Jalen Brunson - Dallas Mavericks
All early indications point towards the Dallas Mavericks retaining soon-to-be free agent guard Jalen Brunson in the offseason, but the New York Knicks have been connected to the Mavericks’ young guard for what seems like the entire 2021-22 season.
Not only has the team sent executives and players to Mavericks games to watch Brunson play, but he does have some internal connections with the Knicks front-office.
Jalen Brunson’s father, Rick Brunson, spent three seasons with the Knicks during his nine-year NBA career and Rick was represented by a long-time Creative Artists Agency agent named Leon Rose, who happens to be the Knicks’ team president.
Getting a young, high-impact guard is something the Knicks would love to do and Brunson checks off all the boxes of things they need.
He can score off-the-dribble, create space for others, lead an offense and Brunson is only 25-years-old. The only negative to pursuing Jalen Brunson right now from the Knicks’ perspective is that he is going to demand a high price in free agency.
This offseason, Brunson could see a contract that starts as low as $20 million annually with offers getting as high as $25 million annually. He could also end up being a prime sign-and-trade target this offseason.
With the Mavericks having the ability to pay him the most money, it is hard to believe he will leave Dallas, especially given that the two sides do have mutual interest in one another.
Having the ability to open up a max-level slot on their roster though, the New York Knicks could be massive competitors to the Mavericks in the sweepstakes to land Jalen Brunson.
Jaden Ivey - 2022 NBA Draft
It is a massive long-shot, close to impossible, to believe that the Knicks will have a chance at drafting Jaden Ivey with their 11th overall selection in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Ivey is heavily regarded as the best guard prospect in this year’s draft class and many have him pegged to be the first guard off-the-board inside the Top-5 come June.
The only way New York can possibly end up with Ivey is if they were to trade up in the draft, something that does seem very believable right now given that the Sacramento Kings are interested in dealing the No. 4 overall pick.
There is interest within the Knicks organization of trading up in order to draft Ivey to be their new franchise point guard, but the asking price to acquire said pick is unknown at this time.
The Kings have had interest in All-Star forward Julius Randle dating back to the start of the 2021-22 season, yet it is unknown if the Knicks are in fact interested in moving on from Randle this offseason, especially for an unproven rookie.
The Knicks interest in Jaden Ivey though is very real at the moment and over the next few weeks leading up to the 2022 NBA Draft, anything can happen within their front-office. As things stand right now, it seems like New York is willing to discuss trade opportunities involving all the players on their roster.
Whether or not they are willing to move any of their talents is a completely different scenario though, as many have concluded that the team will not be looking to trade RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley or Obi Toppin in the offseason.
New York could end up being very active in the 2022 NBA Draft and should they look to move up, it will be to select Jaden Ivey.