There is no offseason when it comes to the ever-spinning New York Knicks’ rumor mill. And amidst their first playoff season since 2012-2013, it’s working overtime.
New York is 38-30, the Eastern Conference fourth-seed, and boasting an All-NBA candidate in forward Julius Randle.
With four games to go in their regular season, some eyes are already turning to the offseason, where the Knicks are expected to play a major role in the upcoming free agency market.
Searching for a Point Guard
Just last week, Marc Berman of the New York Post reported that the New York Knicks were monitoring Portland Trail Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard.
And prior to that, it’s well known that they inquired about Lonzo Ball at the time of the trade deadline in March.
If their desire to upgrade the point guard position this offseason wasn’t clear enough, New York went out and signed EuroLeague star Luca Vildoza to a four-year contract just last week.
And now, Begley is reporting that Kyle Lowry, 2019 NBA Champion, will join the Knicks’ list of targets:
Kyle Lowry is among the point guards on the Knicks’ radar for the 2021 offseason, SNY has learned. Lowry will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. He will likely command multi-year offers from several teams, but his future in Toronto is unclear due to the uncertainty over the future direction of the franchise.
It’s unsurprising to hear the 35-year old tied to New York. Lowry will likely be looking for the last lucrative deal of his storied career, and the Knicks have got the cap space to offer that to him.
And as Begley mentions, all of their point guards are headed for some form of free agency:
Current starting point guard Elfrid Payton and reserve Derrick Rose will be free agents this offseason. Frank Ntilikina will be a restricted free agent.
The only question now is whether or not Kyle Lowry, with his eyes on a second career championship, deems the new-look New York Knicks a club within the tier of contention.
His presence on the floor would certainly help. The six-time All-Star is averaging 17.2 points, 7.3 assists, 5.4 rebounds, and a steal in year 15.
Return of the Mecca?
In what has been a complete revamp of the team’s culture, it appears that the New York Knicks may have reestablished themselves as a free agent destination.
SNY’s Ian Begley spoke with NBA agents, scouts, and former executives recently to gauge the temperature on the team’s standing around the league. The results were promising, to say the least.
One scout offered that other teams have pegged the Knicks’ development as a concern heading into the offseason, and a potential threat to their own free agency goals:
“That’s why teams are worried about them,” a scout from an opposing team says. “They’re winning and they have a ton of cap space. That, plus the market, makes them a threat again.”
That last point may be the biggest factor, in that New York will be one of few teams able to offer someone like Kyle Lowry a competitive contract. They’re currently slated to enter free agency with $50+ million in cap space.
Updated Knicks Playoff Odds
After their win over the LA Clippers, the New York Knicks are 38-30.
According to Five Thirty Eight’s forecast, their chances at making the playoffs have climbed to 99 percent.
But the website is still giving the team a less than one percent shot at making and/or winning the 2021 NBA Finals.
That number could increase if they retain homecourt going into the postseason.
New York’s currently got a game lead over both the fifth-seed Atlanta Hawks and the sixth-seed Miami Heat, and a three-game lead over the seventh-seed Boston Celtics.
Elsewhere, Action Network is giving the Knicks a 42.1 percent chance to enter the playoffs as the fourth seed, and a 30.7 percent shot to enter as the fifth seed.
Tankathon.com has New York’s remaining schedule as only the 16th toughest in the entire NBA.
Four games to go.