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The perfect free agent signing for the New York Knicks

Whether they get a marquee free agent or not.

New York Knicks v Atlanta Hawks
The one all the way on the left.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Knicks may or may not get a big name free agent this offseason. Irregardless. The roster needs to be fleshed out and the money must be spent! Many teams will make smaller deals with interesting players and be lauded for their shrewd, clever, slick and innovative roster building. New York’s offseason will only be branded successful if casual fans and tabloid media can easily point their finger and laugh at those same old buffoons, those stupid LOLKnicks. That dumb franchise who did not snap their fingers to become overnight sensations.

The unspoken part of overnight success is that it doesn’t work like the push of a button. You have to do all the little things exactly right, in the correct order, each at their specific times. Then! You can slam unholy amounts of money on the tiny table. And then! It only might work out.

Not before, not after. If you mix up some part of the sequence you have to start over. From there your only hope is that the new starting point is way out in front of the previous one.

Well, I’d say the lede seems good and buried at this point. So, no, the Knicks shouldn’t make Noah Vonleh a primary target (like you thought). Although I would love to see him back in orange and blue, because Vonleh was terrific last season. If I had to guess, I’d say he will be even better this year, a six-year vet, just 24 years young.

In any case, what they should make the effort to do is sign Vince Carter! Yay! The NBA’s oldest player is gearing up for one final season in the NBA. It will be his (NBA record) 22nd season in the league and he’ll turn 43 just before the All Star break. Truly a magic story; one more season and a basketball life.

Patrick Truby

Basketball reasons

If Adam Silver respects his elders, he should certainly approve of bringing Half Man Half Amazing, to New York. Nice and close to the league office. It’s where one of the greatest ambassadors in the history of the game ought to be. Right up until it’s time to go to Springfield.

I kid. There is actually simple, smart (and basketball-infused) logic for wanting Vince Carter on your team too. Even if the Knicks do sign a major free agent, Carter will add legitimate value to the rotation, likely on a cheaper deal than his game-to-game consistency would garner for a player fifteen years his junior — who would be in their prime, 27-28 years old! Wild.

Last season, in 76 games, Carter shot 39 percent from downtown on nearly four attempts in 17.5 minutes per. That is a dramatic upgrade on what they got from Lance Thomas with his 28 percent in 17 minutes. Let’s not even speak on Lance’s incredibly gawky, sloshing floor game. As you can see above, Carter is still a smooth and swift finisher going to the goal. Vince also put up these shooting numbers while chipping in from the power forward slot, where he undoubtedly used the league’s premier old man strength to help make way for Atlanta’s fledgling Hawks.

The Knicks have a pretty sizable hole at the power forward even if they retain Thomas, who really just hurts you in so many ways. Vonleh would be able to slot right in, but he may want a multi-year contract that the Knicks aren’t prepared to offer. They could certainly use some floor spacing for their stable of young guards and wings with their drive focus and score-only mentalities. Vince Carter, folks.

Canadian connection

When Carter left the Toronto Raptors in the 2004-05 season, after putting them firmly on the NBA map, RJ Barrett was merely four years old. Prior to that, when Vince ended the dunk contest’s relevance, Barrett wasn’t even born! Come to think of it, maybe you weren’t either...

Now Barrett is on the verge of taking up the mantle for New York, and at the same time he is set to become the poster child for Canadian basketball, which is suddenly a powerhouse on the NBA stage and a rising star internationally. I might be crazy, but a guy who was once a super duper star in Canada and the NBA might be uniquely qualified to impart some critical wisdom.

When it comes to Barrett, his detractors will rightfully tell you that too often, RJ gets the ball decides what he wants to be there, then just puts the blinders on with a mad dash into traffic. To put it bluntly, that is eerily similar to Dennis Smith Jr., Allonzo Trier, Emmanuel Mudiay (gross), Kevin Knox and for that matter fellow rookies Iggy Brazdeikis, Amir Hinton and Kris Wilkes too.

Is it possible the only hope for Barrett to find immediate success will be to fully embrace his playmaking ability and become a pass-first leader for his less diverse teammates? Could Vince Carter be the veteran presence this very important rookie will need to reach his full potential?

It also seems like an extended Vince Carter farewell tour would take a huge amount of the focus off of Barrett — affording him a lot of rope, with a little less spotlight, as he descends into the crevasse to rescue a fallen and hobbled franchise.

The DeAndre Jordan corollary

I’m a DeAndre Jordan fan. He’s huge and agile. He dunks on people ferociously. He makes the funniest faces. He seems like a truly cool customer. I’m a fan! However, I do take issue with his on-court work ethic. DeAndre has been checking out of games for quite some time. Maybe it’s just too much to ask him to go full-bore for legitimately crappy teams. Ask any Mavs fan and I’m sure they’ll tell you the Clippers helped them dodge a bullet all those years ago. Nevertheless, that sensibility could permeate the entire team, and no one wants to watch a team with all the talent in the world, and none of the cares.

Some would say he’s a great locker room guy. I wouldn’t deny that, but I have to question if there is a stark difference between someone who is good in the locker room versus someone who is good for the locker room. It’s hard to see Vince quitting on plays like DeAndre did at times, or thumping people out of the way to collect uncontested boards. In fairness, DeAndre’s historically bad free throw percentage had a total reversal of fortune in the past few years, so he is still making progress as a player. I don’t know though, maybe he’s gotten too comfortable.

This group of Knick youngsters could probably use some life lessons from a grizzled vet who has been around all the blocks in every neighborhood, and won’t settle for lackluster effort from his teammates or himself just because it’s a Monday in Orlando. Please read this essential Kevin Arnovitz article for more detail than you would hope eight or so 19-23 year olds might need.

The Knicks tried to co-opt Vinsanity with Linsanity. Only to have the Raptors sign Jeremy Lin and win a championship with him. Thusly reclaiming the nickname. Yea, take that too, Masai. Vince also dunked former Knick draft pick, Frederic Weis, into complete oblivion. Far be it from me to tell Vince Carter what he needs to do, but I think he owes us one and would be the perfect free agent signing regardless of what direction this team is headed in.