The Knicks have been shut out at acquiring free agent point guards thus far, so they might be heading in a different direction. According to several news outlets, they have contacted Miami Heat swingman Dion Waiters.
Marc Berman makes the salient point that current GM Steve Mills pursued Waiters when he was in charge of the organization in 2013-14, just before Phil Jackson took over. If Mills is still interested, he’ll have some competition, including from longtime Knicks torturer Pat Riley. Per Marc Berman:
If the Knicks renounce the rights to Derrick Rose (who, ESPN reported, will meet with the Clippers on Wednesday), they will have $15 million of cap space. Miami, which is big in the hunt to retain Waiters, waived Chris Bosh on Tuesday under the special medical agreement with the NBA that opened up $25 million in cap room.
Waiters also reportedly will meet with the Lakers, whose new general manager, Rob Pelinka, is his former agent.
There’s a lot to digest here, if only due to the fact that Waiters is one of the most polarizing players in the league. I will, however, point out a few facts. Waiters had a higher assist percentage last season than New York’s nominal point guard, Derrick Rose. Also, the Heat performed better with him on the court (+2.8 points per 100 possessions) than any other regular player. Also, he’s still 25 years old.
Does that mean the Knicks should open the checkbook for Waiters? Not necessarily. But it’s less crazy than it might seem at first.
Besides, we all know that Riley is going to sign him anyway.