KNICKS OFFSEASON
What The Knicks Should Do During 2021 Offseason Following Elimination (Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Knicks’ season just ended in upsetting fashion and they now enter the 2021 offseason with plenty of time to reflect

The Knicks’ season ended in underwhelming fashion last night in Madison Square Garden. After a promising 72 games where we saw this team play with heart for the first time in 8 years, they couldn’t get it going against the Hawks, who move on to face the 76ers. If there’s anything to take away from this past series, it’s that the Knicks now know what they need to fix in the offseason. They also seem to have finally built a sustainable culture that could bring in big name free agents.

How They Can Improve

The Knicks have several ways they can keep going in a positive direction next season. From re-signing key players to trading for big stars, they will need to find the right way to approach this offseason.

Before they make any big splashes, the Knicks should immediately re-sign Derrick Rose and Alec Burks. Both guys proved, even during the playoffs, that they can be contributors for years to come in New York. The Knicks should also bring back Nerlens Noel, who showcased his elite defensive skills throughout this past season. Although they can’t ever rely on his minimal offensive talent, he would continue to be a great option off the bench at center.

The second order of business for the Knicks should be filling the starting point guard position. Derrick Rose, who somehow played 35 minutes per game this past series, is not fit for the starting role. So, who do they target and how will they potentially acquire these players?

Free Agency

With $45 million coming off the books, the Knicks could reasonably have up to $60 mil in cap room this summer. While this free agency class isn’t anything special, they can still use this money to somewhat improve. They also have more money than any other team so that they can out-bid other franchises.

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The number one option should be Kyle Lowry, whose contract expires this year. Just last month, it was reported by CBS Sports that they would pursue Lowry. Lowry, 35, is supposedly asking for a 2 year, $50 million contract. Realistically, the only team that can offer him that type of money is the Knicks.

This also applies to Lonzo Ball. Ball will be a restricted free agent for the Pelicans this upcoming summer. If the Knicks offer Ball enough money, the Pelicans would be reluctant to match the deal if he accepts. This is because they aren’t in the position that New York is financially. If I were the Knicks, Lonzo would be my biggest free agent target because he’s young, he fits perfectly with Tom Thibodeau, and he has great playmaking abilities. Lowry would also be a great addition, but he’s asking way too much for his advanced age. The Knicks already passed up the opportunity to trade for a veteran leader in Chris Paul last year and would be smart to save money for the star-studded free agency class in 2022.

Possible Trades

The Knicks hold 3 of the top 32 picks in the 2021 NBA Draft. They also possess several young assets that may be enticing for rebuilding teams looking to get rid of stars with big contracts. If they wanted to go down this route, look no further than Bradley Beal. The Wizards currently don’t have any realistic plan to be competitive in an increasingly talented Eastern Conference. If Beal becomes disgruntled, the Knicks are one of the teams that can put together a package for him.

Something else New York could do which isn’t being talked about much is trading up in the draft. With the 19th, 21st, and 32nd picks, they can put together packages that could secure them a franchise player for years to come. This is one of the most stacked drafts in years and could be the easiest way the Knicks acquire a star.

One player they could trade up for is Jalen Suggs, who looks like the real deal. He could fall anywhere from 5-7, in which the Knicks could then swoop in. Additionally, if they decide that they are going to move on from Mitchell Robinson, they could trade him along with their picks for the rights to draft Evan Mobley, a projected top 3 pick. Mobley, a center, is 7 ft and has the abilities of a forward. New York hasn’t had a center that can shoot in years, and with a center who is a threat from outside, they could space the floor exponentially more.

The Knicks Are Back

No matter what they did this postseason or what they’ll do this offseason, the Knicks have officially proven that they now have a lot to look forward to in the future. Just a year and a half ago, everyone and their mothers knew that the Knicks had absolutely no foundation. They had the worst coach of all time in David Fizdale, and not one star free agent wanted to take their talents to the Garden.

No one can take away what they’ve accomplished this year. They greatly exceeded expectations and showed everyone that the New York Knicks are once again a force to be reckoned with. The next few years are about to be a whole lot of fun.

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