Knicks’ Choice of Targets Sends Strong Message About Team’s Plans: Analyst

Knicks-Heat Leon Rose

Getty New York Knicks president Leon Rose looks on during a game against the Miami Heat.

With the New York Knicks facing a particularly long offseason, fans in the Big Apple have been left with little to do but daydream about hypothetical trades, free-agent signings and/or draft-night steals while the NBA postseason plays itself out.

To that end, Donovan Mitchell of the Jazz and the Mavericks’ Jalen Brunson have given Knicks Nation something to chew on. After all, both players have ties to New York and each faces an uncertain future with their current club. Meanwhile, the Knicks’ biggest need this summer is probably a lead guard to direct traffic offensively.

Regardless of whether New York can realistically make a play for either baller, though, the simple fact that the club is being linked to them is an indication that there’s a real desire to make a splash this offseason, according to Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley.

As such, the hoops scribe is projecting the Knicks to factor prominently in the free-agent market.


B/R: Knicks Are Looking to Buy


Bobby Marks' offseason guide: The New York Knicks | NBA on ESPNBobby Marks gives his offseason guide for the New York Knicks. ✔️Subscribe to ESPN+ espnplus.com/youtube ✔️ Get the ESPN App: espn.com/espn/apps/espn ✔️Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube: es.pn/SUBSCRIBEtoYOUTUBE ✔️ Subscribe to NBA on ESPN on YouTube: bit.ly/SUBSCRIBEtoNBAonESPN ✔️ Watch ESPN on YouTube TV: es.pn/YouTubeTV2022-04-19T15:00:16Z

For his latest piece of summer prognostication, Buckley sought to identify the teams that will be the biggest free-agent buyers of 2022. Despite the fact that the team has some cap constraints, he namechecked the Knicks alongside the Blazers, Pacers, Pistons and Spurs.

“The fact that New York is even mulling a Brunson pursuit — which would almost certainly require a sign-and-trade — shows the front office is ready and willing to take a huge swing this summer,” wrote Buckley. “Given the issues the Knicks have had at point guard for, well, decades now, it’s an understandable sentiment.”

There’s also Mitchell Robinson to consider. While the big man is looking to level up his pay grade this offseason — and his social media activity sometimes paints the portrait of a disgruntled baller — Buckley sees New York making a major push to keep the defensive stalwart alongside its pursuit of a new floor general.

“The Knicks might have to reach deep into their bag for a new Mitchell Robinson contract and use the $10.3 million midlevel and $4.1 million biannual exceptions to pump up their perimeter core.”

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Knicks Continue to Outpace Nets at the Gate

Per a report from the New York Post, the Knicks are still the kings of NYC where drawing fans and making money in the arena is concerned.

The club is said to have brought in an average of $3 million per game, which represents a 9% bump over its pre-pandemic numbers in 2018-19. After giveaways, the Knicks averaged just over 16,000 tickets sold per night, according to NBA sources. Brooklyn, meanwhile, logged average gate receipts of $2.1 million this season, while selling approximately 15,000 tickets a game.

Given that the Knicks were a non-playoff team with a payroll number more than $50 million below that of their crosstown rivals, it’s an incredible turn of events for James Dolan’s franchise.

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