The Knicks have a new wing, Arron Afflalo. After a couple meetings and one canceled meeting, the Knicks do not yet have a new big man. Greg Monroe signed with the Bucks, where I think he'll fit better than he'd have fit with the Knicks. David Falk says that right there is the reason his client signed in Milwaukee. Adrian Wojnarowski seems to have deleted the part of his report that said another factor was the Knicks' reluctance to offer a full maximum contract. Others reported that as well. Whatever the case may be, Greg Monroe isn't going to be on the Knicks.
Some older, better, more expensive players like LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan seem out of the picture, too. We expected that. Aldridge has had a ton of meetings but decided deigning to join the Knicks for lunch was a meeting too many:
Knicks meeting was cancelled once it became clear NY wanted Aldridge to play center, something he is adamant against doing, per source.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 2, 2015
That tweet got my attention because:
1. It's funny that something as vague and negotiable as position was the tipping point between "eh, a meeting can't hurt" and "naaah don't waste my time."
2. I don't at all like the idea of LaMarcus Aldridge playing center for the Knicks, but that notion does lead me to believe Phil Jackson's talk of letting Carmelo Anthony spend time at the 4 might actually amount to something. The label doesn't matter so much, but the idea of getting Melo back into lineups surrounded by 3 shooters pleases me.
But yeah, no Aldridge. I didn't really want the Knicks to give that a guy a bunch of money anyway. That leaves roughly 1 person due to make a substantial max salary: Jordan. He met with the Knicks today -- thanks DeAndre! -- and left with sources buzzing their usual meaningless-unless-it's-negative buzz:
FWIW: a Deandre Jordan friend thinks the #Knicks made a good impression on DJ during their meeting. Phil Jackson was described as "engaged."— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) July 2, 2015
Deandre Jordan left the meeting without making a decision. Prior to the meeting, #Knicks were believed to be a long shot to land the big man— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) July 2, 2015
He's meeting with the Clippers as I type this.
You never know, but I'm assuming Jordan's out as well. That's okay! He would've been a major boon to the defense and a fascinating test of New York's offensive adaptability, but it would have been a lot of money and ... well, it's probably not happening anyway. I doubt the Knicks expected any of the above, except perhaps Monroe, to swing their way.
So what WILL happen? The Knicks have dined with Robin Lopez, who if he's paid fairly would be a lovely pick-up as a solid defender and savvy offensive space-filler. I imagine Lopez and the teams he's considering are waiting on Jordan and Aldridge to decide. And here's the latest on that right as I'm finishing up this post:
Free agent center Robin Lopez discussing deal with Knicks that would earn him in range of $12M-$13M per season, league sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 3, 2015
Another serious consideration for Robin Lopez: The Lakers.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 3, 2015
(My opinion on that in an update: If it's the usual 2-3 year contract going around, do it.)
If Lopez heads elsewhere -- and there's a decent chance he will, and life will go on if he does -- the Knicks may toss an offer sheet at a likely-unavailable RFA like Tobias Harris (interesting to me, though not a "big" in the sense we're discussing) or Enes Kanter (appalling to me), they may stack an excess of money to make damn sure someone like Kosta Koufos or Bismack Biyombo joins them (fine acquisitions up to a certain dollar amount), they may stay cool and grab smaller contracts, and they may look to make a trade.
One kind of trade that will very likely present itself is the type where a team pays you assets to absorb a contract (or contracts) they don't want anymore. Space is good for that! The Knicks could benefit from letting David Lee or Roy Hibbert hang out for a year. They could siphon more desirable players off a team like Phoenix or San Antonio that needs to scrape out some space for a big signing. They can also leave some space open and wait for the trade deadline, when that last option will become very real again.
Perhaps -- ideally? -- they'll do a combination of the above. Sign someone(s) good to a short contract, snag some surplus assets off a desperate team somewhere, and leave some space open for flexibility.
The Knicks are probably somewhat bummed today, depending on how set their hearts were on those priciest of free agents. As long as they don't overreact, though, there are ample good deals to be had and the rebuild can continue apace.