The New York Knicks are back in the playoffs, but they’re far from being viewed as a contender. They’ll look to change that perception this offseason in free agency.
New York finished out the regular season as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference at 41-31, and are bracing for a first-round series against the fifth-seed Atlanta Hawks.
Julius Randle earned an All-Star nod, is the clubhouse favorite for the Most Improved Player award, and is likely headed for All-NBA honors as well.
Head coach Tom Thibodeau will finish as a finalist, if not the recipient, for Coach of the Year.
And rookie Immanuel Quickley, the 25th pick from last year’s draft, is looking like a steal.
Is that enough to requalify Madison Square Garden as a free agent destination?
DeRozan, Lowry to New York?
With the San Antonio Spurs eliminated from the play-in tournament behind a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, free-agent wing DeMar DeRozan will become the topic of regular discussion.
The four-time All-Star has long been linked to the New York Knicks as a potential target.
But according to ESPN Insider Bobby Marks, he may not come alone:
Supply and demand will be a big factor in determining what DeRozan’s next contract will be. The teams outside of San Antonio who project to have cap space are Charlotte, Dallas, Miami and New York. Would the Knicks use their $55 million in room to target DeRozan and his former Toronto Raptors teammate Kyle Lowry?
Kyle Lowry is another name that’s been mentioned as a potential Knicks target, with SNY’s Ian Begley reporting as recently as last week that the six-time All-Star was “on their radar.”
As most know, the two All-Stars spent six seasons together as members of the Toronto Raptors, where they saw an abundance of regular-season success, but failed to ever make the Eastern Conference Finals.
Lowry’s coming off of a strong 15th season, where he averaged 17.2 points and 7.3 assists per game. DeRozan, in what is expected to be his last year with the Spurs, averaged 21.6 points and 4.9 assists nightly.
It’s unclear what the ceiling of the Knicks looks like with those two inserted into a starting five that also includes RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson.
But as the playoffs continue on, and other teams/players prepare for the upcoming season, don’t expect this to be the last you hear of a potential All-Star duo teaming up in New York.
Other Names to Watch
That being said, don’t doubt that almost every other upcoming free agent to be and/or disgruntled star will be tied to the New York Knicks this offseason.
Names that have come up recently include Damian Lillard, Jaren Jackson Jr., Lonzo Ball, and Norman Powell.
With nearly $55-million in cap space, the Knicks will undoubtedly be at the center of any and all superstar sweepstakes or free agency splashes. They’ve got two first-round picks in the upcoming draft too.
But first things first; New York is scheduled to open up their playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday in Game 1, which will tip-off at 7:00 PM est.
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