The New York Knicks saw their season come to an end in round two of the playoffs against the Miami Heat, capping off what proved to be a remarkably successful season, particularly based on preseason expectations. Now, the front office is expected to try and bolster their talent pool to better their odds for greater success come next year.
In an attempt to do so, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley suggests that Leon Rose and company could improve their assortment of players while also sticking it to the team that eliminated them from playoff contention, as he lists Heat guard Max Strus as one of the top possible targets on the club’s free agency big board.
“A shooting specialist won’t do much good, though. Just ask Evan Fournier. Despite being both a 37.9 percent career three-point shooter and this team’s third-highest-paid player, he couldn’t snag a spot in coach Tom Thibodeau’s rotation. Max Strus could, though. He is just as effective from distance (career 37.1 percent), but that’s not all he brings to the floor.
“He fights defensively. He moves well without the basketball. He has enough zip to slip past close-outs or back-cut distracted defenders and finish at the rim. He has logged the fourth-most minutes this postseason for the Miami Heat, who sit just one game away from an NBA Finals berth. You don’t have to wonder whether he can help a team win big, because he’s doing exactly that right now,” Buckley wrote.
Considering the Knicks finished 20th in the association in field goal percentage (47.0%), 19th in 3-point percentage (35.4%), and 22nd in free throw percentage (76.1%), they may want to add on a player who can help improve their shooting performance while not negatively impacting their defensive efforts.
Buckley believes Strus and his 10.0 points per game on 37.1% shooting from 3-point range for his career could be that guy.
Proposed Knicks Trade Swaps RJ Barrett for Zach LaVine
Should the Knicks opt to get a bit more experimental with their offseason talent-bolstering pursuits, Buckley believes that the trade route could also be an option for them.
Just recently, he proposed a trade idea that would land the franchise Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine for an outbound package headlined by RJ Barrett and Obi Toppin.
“This probably wasn’t his best season—his player efficiency rating was only his fourth-best, per Basketball Reference—and he still finished it with per-game averages of 24.8 points and 4.2 assists. All three layers of his 48.5/37.5/84.8 shooting slash bettered New York’s team marks. He is an elite scorer and would immediately form a three-headed, point-producing monster next to Brunson and Randle,” Buckley wrote.
Buckley would continue on by noting that, from Chicago’s standpoint, there’s “a distinct possibility” that they could wind up entering a full-out rebuild phase this summer which, should this happen, would make the concept of bringing on “high-ceiling prospects” such as Barrett (22) and Toppin (25) “a great way to start scripting the franchise’s next chapter.”
Derrick Rose’s Plan With Knicks Revealed
Despite being relegated to the sidelines for the vast majority of the 2022-23 campaign, it appears the Knicks plan on holding onto veteran guard Derrick Rose heading into next season. That said, Clutchpoint’s Brett Siegel revealed that the goal is to restructure the 34-year-old’s final year under contract.
“The New York Knicks own a $15.6 million team option on Derrick Rose’s contract for next season that they are expected to decline. However, the Knicks would like to keep Rose on a more team-friendly contract, as his mentorship and leadership in the locker room have been extremely valuable to the team’s overall success,” Siegel wrote.
New York has until June 24 to make a decision on the final season of the veteran’s three-year, $43.5 million deal that he signed back in 2021.
Rose played just 27 games this past season, finishing with career-low numbers virtually all across the board, averaging 5.6 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 1.7 assists while shooting 38.4% from the field and 30.2% from deep.