With that in mind, the boys here at P&T composed our own little shopping list, each of us choosing one player we'd most like the Knicks to sign while considering the potential price and future cap space ramifications.
Joakim Noah. It seems silly to pursue a 31-year-old free agent center coming off of shoulder surgery and career-low stats, but Noah's value has never been lower and that could be good news for the Knicks. It's undeniable that Noah suffered through injury woes and chemistry issues this past season, but if his health was guaranteed he'd be entertaining max contract offers. Even at his worst Noah proved to be a valuable defensive presence: The Bulls had a defensive rating of 99.3 with Jo on the court compared to 104.8 with him off per NBA.com. That high-energy defense combined with his intangibles makes Noah a valuable asset to a team that needs a player to help establish a culture alongside a new head coach. I would be happy to see Noah sign to the Knicks on a two-year contract, even at near-max salary. I understand it's a gamble on Noah's health, but it is one worth exploring.
You've added a high-risk/high-reward point guard. Your backcourt still needs work. But you don't want to go big on years or dollars. What's a girl to do?
There's a 28-year-old unrestricted free agent point guard who's averaged 15.4 points and 6 assists (AST/TO 2.4:1) per 36 the last three seasons while shooting 44% from beyond the arc. He's come off the bench most of his career but can spot-start if need be, useful in light of Derrick Rose's injury history. The IQ and marksmanship necessary in a Triangle guard are there, yet so are the quicks to push the pace when the moment's right. He's coming off a two-year contract and has never made more than $3.5M in any season. Rome may be the eternal city, but it was built with everyday mundane bricks. He isn't a sexy name, but D.J. Augustin backing Rose could create a better point guard combo than the Knicks have had since ... buffering ... buffering ...
Seth Curry. He's not nearly as good as his brother (though that's a given), but he would be a capable backup/more-than-occasional replacement for Derrick Rose. Last year with Sacramento, he shot 45% from 3 and 83% from the line while averaging about 7 points in 16 minutes per game. He doesn't seem like much of a defender, though to be fair, neither is anyone currently on the Knicks other than Kristaps. This team needs a backup point guard and it needs a deep threat; Seth Curry checks both of those boxes. Plus, I feel like it'd be fun to watch him run with Langston Galloway in the second unit.
If keeping long term flexibility is still a major goal, one guy worth checking in on might be Maurice Ndour. Still only 24 years young, Mo played for the Summer Knicks and quietly stole the showzingis. He was then signed and subsequently waived by Dallas before the season started. Ndour plays with loads of energy and would be an instant crowd favorite. He also has a decent touch and really chases boards. He's awful slim, but he should be able to jump in at either forward spot and he won't command a bloated name-brand salary. He was last seen playing with Real Madrid and our buddy Willy Hernangomez.
If he wants to come play for the Knicks, Nicolas Batum would be terrific. New York's gonna really, really need some wing defense, and I love his passing and ... well, at least the threat of outside shooting, if not the regular makes. I did get the impression that Batum cherished his high usage in Charlotte, though, and I don't think all those touches would be available with the Knicks. He also doesn't strike me as a one-year-deal kind of a guy, and I'm not sure New York's gonna be in the business of signing big, long contracts this summer, so we'll see.
Make mine Solomon Hill. I do worry that his fine seven-game playoff run might have over-inflated his value, but I love the strides he was making even before he nearly helped the Pacers knock off Toronto. The 25-year-old forward can guard multiple positions well, and that is something sorely needed on this team. He was useless offensively in 2014-15, but that can possibly be explained away by getting his first extended NBA action on an offensively-inept Pacers club missing Paul George. By the end of 2015-16 he had improved as a jump shooter and a cutter.
In terms of karma, it just feels right to snatch away a player because Pacers GM Larry Bird foolishly declined to pick up the final option on his rookie deal a year ago. That's usually the kind of thing that happens to New York; let's do it to someone else for a change!