The New York Knicks are entering a crucial offseason. There is no magical remedy that will help them jump back up to a top-four seed in the packed Eastern Conference. With how talented some of the top teams are, the Knicks have some serious decisions to make.
If they keep rolling with this same core, they could compete for a playoff spot. But if they hope to enter the title chase at any point, retooling the roster will be crucial. Whether that means adding veterans to compete now or shutting things down and rebuilding is the real question.
Instead of choosing one direction, the Knicks should attempt to pursue both. They have the talent to compete for a playoff spot next year, but they should also be worrying about the future. Since that is the case, adding players that can help accomplish both goals should be a top priority.
This means scouring the free agency market for young players who have star potential. There are always a few underappreciated young stars in free agency that are just itching for another chance. With the Knicks being stuck in a middle ground, they are in a perfect position to offer that chance.
Here are a couple of young free agents who the Knicks should pursue this offseason.
Knicks Should Target Tyus Jones
Jones just wrapped up an extremely successful season with the Memphis Grizzlies, who finished as the second seed in the Western Conference. And with Ja Morant out for a chunk of the playoffs, he played a big-time role.
During the regular season, Jones averaged 8.7 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 4.4 assists while shooting 45.1% from the field and 39.0% from behind the three-point line.
In the postseason, Jones’ efficiency numbers took a slight hit, but he still played well. He averaged 9.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 4.5 assists on 39.4% shooting from the field and 40.0% from distance.
The 26-year-old point guard will be entering his fourth NBA season next year, meaning he may not have reached his full potential. Memphis will likely look to keep him around, but if the Knicks offer him a large enough contract (somewhere around $12-$15 million), they may not be able to match that price. Although, it would require a sign-and-trade.
Jones is an effective three-point shooter and had an elite assist-to-turnover ratio this past season. With his scoring, playmaking, and ball-handling, New York could provide Jones with the perfect opportunity to blossom into a star.
Knicks Should Target Malik Monk
Although the Los Angeles Lakers were one of the biggest disappointments of the season, Monk played great. He averaged 13.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.9 assists while shooting 47.3% from the field and 39.1% from distance.
At 24 years old, Monk still has plenty of room to grow in his career, as this past season was his first since departing from the Charlotte Hornets. He was an underrated asset for the Lakers, and with how well he played, he could look to get paid.
If the Knicks could work out a sign-and-trade with Los Angeles that would bring Monk to New York, the youngster could provide them with elite shot creation, a stable three-point shooter, and potentially, a future star.