The job Phil Jackson has done in free agency for the New York Knicks hasn’t been too flashy. Many Knicks fans are frustrated that big-name players such as DeAndre Jordan, LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Monroe were able to slip through their grasp. But while the Knicks haven’t made too many big signings, Jackson has given them a solid free agency thus far.
Money is everything during free agency, but while the Knicks had 25-plus million bucks in cap space to spend, selling those aforementioned players on coming to a rebuilding team in New York was too tough. Monroe was the most realistic target, but he elected to join an up-and-coming Milwaukee Bucks team that made the playoffs last season. The Knicks’ response on missing out on Monroe was a good one though, as they agreed to a four-year deal with Robin Lopez.
Lopez’s statistics aren’t anything that’ll jump out off the page, but this was a strong acquisition nonetheless, and now he gets to play in the same city as his brother Brook. With draft pick Kristaps Porzingis and Lopez, all of a sudden the Knicks have some nice options in the frontcourt on their roster. The sign-and-trade for Kyle O’Quinn was a savvy move that adds even more depth, and New York is hoping Derrick Williams can revitalize his career.
Again, none of these signings should have Knicks fans jumping for joy. But Jackson has calmly and wisely invested in some quality players that’ll be willing to work. And after a season full of quitters and lack of hustle, just about anything in that department can be considered an improvement.
Snagging shooting guard Arron Afflalo at a reasonable price was a solid move as well. He’ll add a good jump-shot alongside point guards Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant, who was acquired on draft night in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks that sent Tim Hardaway Jr. to Atlanta.
Calderon was a big disappointment last season and is under contract for two more seasons, so New York will likely try to move him and could even use the stretch provision to try to clear a bit more cap space. But while Calderon isn’t really part of the future, Grant most certainly is and is a nice fit. And even if the Knicks’ point-guard situation isn’t the best for the time being, if they’re able to truly embrace the Triangle, good passes will have to come from all players on the floor anyway.
With Lopez, Afflalo, Williams, O’Quinn, Porzingis and Grant, that’s six new players that’ll hopefully contribute to the new-look Knicks this upcoming season. None of the free-agent additions made for any sexy headlines, but many of these moves are just what the franchise needed. An offseason that emphasizes rebuilding rarely contributes immediate change within a single year.
Any Knicks fan that disagrees is likely still rooting their displeasure towards the countless poor management decisions over recent years. But for the first time in a while, New York is doing things that make sense.
And if the lengthy rebuilding process still has you down, you might as well start embracing it with this Latvian Porzingis rap video:
Break out the Google translator. Porzingisssss