Time is running out for the New York Knicks to acquire free agents via the buyout market. The cut-off for adding new fellas to a roster is Thursday, February 23. For your convenience, Hoops Wire has a handy list of available players. Nobody on the list stands out as an absolute must, but there are guys who could help the team as practice players—and maybe even contribute a few in-game minutes. Here’s a run down.
If the Knicks need to work on defending against playmakers, D.J. Augustin is available. The 5’11”, 183 lb. Augustin played for one season under Tom Thibodeau in Chicago in 2014. He would give the team an experienced point guard to scrimmage against at the Tarrytown facility. Last seen on last year’s Lakers, the 35-year-old has shot 41% from the field and 38% from deep over his career. His career defensive rating is a not-bad 112, and he seems like Thibs’ kind of cat.
Other notable names on the list are John Wall and Rajon Rondo. Can’t say I trust either player to be a positive locker-room presence, so pass and pass. Isaiah Thomas still needs a home (shrug). Jared Butler is an interesting name: the 6’3”, 195 lb. guard is only 22 years old and had a defensive rating of 109.4 for Utah in 2021-22, his rookie season. His shooting numbers—40.4% FG%, 31.8 FG3%—won’t make any GM’s misty-eyed, but there might be value here. Perhaps New York could keep him around and toss him into an off-season trade?
Other familiar faces on the point guard contingent are Elfrid Payton, Trey Burke, and Kemba Walker. It might be worth bringing back Kemba for that ONE BIG GAME he’ll give you before rocketing back to earth. . . . (Seriously, I’m joking. Do not bring Kemba back, Leon.)
Guards, guards, so many guards. Again, nobody stands out on the list. The sun might finally be setting on Lou Williams’ career, but it might be fun to have him around for Immanuel Quickley to fawn over. Joshua Primo is probably a not-with-a-ten-foot-pole player after the San Antonio situation.
After 10 seasons and at age 30, Jeremy Lamb’s time in the Association is just about over, too. His career averages don’t titillate (10.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 44% FG, 34% FG3%), but he could be useful in a practice gym. If not him, why not Bryn Forbes, or maybe bring back Langston Galloway for old-time’s sake? (Honestly, we’re good on guards, but I’ve gotta plump up this article.)
Josh Jackson was the fourth pick in the 2017 draft, but after some initial promise, he’s un-rostered and waiting for the phone to ring. It’s tough to be a shooter who can’t shoot. Sounds sort of Don Knotts-y. Nevertheless, he’s a larger body (6’8”, 207 lb.) and could give our heroes something to work with at Tarrytown.
Maurice Harkless is somehow only 29 years old. I’m stunned; it seems like he’s been around forever. He played 12 games for the 2019-20 Knicks, and New York could bring him back for scrimmaging purposes. The younger CJ Elleby played two seasons for the Trail Blazers and averaged 4.6 points while shooting 39% from the floor. Meh. Other players who could warm a spot on the bench: Eric Paschall, Tony Snell, and Mr. Let-Me-Whisper-In-You-Ear, Lance Stephenson. The last would be fun to have around simply for the zany antics.
Let’s say it together: Free Obi! Okay, I’m glad that’s out of our system and, no, it doesn’t make sense to waste a roster spot on another forward who will never be freed from the pine. However, Thibs might want another big body running through scrimmages, and there’s one candidate with significant history here.
Carmelo Anthony was one of the most beloved Knicks of all time, but he left New York with a 196-216 record. The Knicks could bring him home for both the nostalgia of it all and to let him get a little closer to that .500 mark. Does he still have anything left in the tank? Who cares! He’d mostly be here to pose for pictures in the uniform.
Let’s see, who else . . . Could I interest you in Jabari Parker? He played eight seasons for six NBA teams and averaged 14.1 points and 5.5 rebounds. At 6’8”, 245 lbs, he wouldn’t be a terrible guy to have around, maybe even for a couple of in-game minutes. (Relax, Obi stans, I said a couple.) Also on the free agent list is OAKAAKUYOAK Noah Vonleh. Still just 27! Not so long ago, I had really convinced myself of Vonleh’s potential. I should remember that when evaluating this year’s team. . . .
And just for the ageist jokes alone, why not Trevor Ariza or Paul Millsap?
When Mitchell Robinson returns, the Knicks will be three deep at the center position again. That seems like plenty, but I would be remiss not to observe that LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMarcus Cousins are both available, and probably at a deep discount. Either player would be useful in practice situations; plus, God forbid Robinson gets injured before the playoffs, but either LaMarcus or Boogie could still give New York a few minutes in case of emergency.
Also, Enes Freedom and Tristan Thompson can go fly kites.
If it were my decision to make, I’d sign Augustin. The Knicks could always use more practice against a playmaker. If intoxicated by sentiment, I’d call Carmelo for one last go-round. If Thibs gets to decide, he’d probably pick Aldridge. What about you? Have any feelings about who they should go after, or stay the hell away from? Air it out below.