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Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 3/20/16

Sacramento point guard Rajon Rondo is in New York tonight for his only game of the season at Madison Square Garden. Next year, there’s a chance he’ll be playing there 41 times.

The market for Rondo was limited when he hit free agency last summer after a disastrous experience in Dallas. He clashed constantly with Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle after Boston traded him there and was benched midway through Dallas’ first-round playoff series, although both sides reportedly agreed to say he was out with a back injury. With few suitors to pick from, Rondo accepted a one-year, $10MM offer from the Kings.

He’ll be a free agent again in a little more than three months, and this time the demand should be much greater. Rondo is averaging a league-best 11.9 assists per game to go with 11.8 points. He’s shooting 45% from the floor, which is his highest mark in four years, and his 3-point percentage is a career-best 35%.

New York is expected to be among the teams lined up for Rondo. The Knicks have made no secret of their desire to improve at the point guard position, and they are projected to have between $21MM and $27MM available to chase free agents.

While Rondo would be an upgrade in New York, there are questions about his ability to run the triangle offense and to adapt to an unfamiliar system after his experience in Dallas. Rondo made some disparaging comments about the philosophy earlier in the season, but he was much more open to it when meeting with reporters prior to tonight’s game. Interim coach Kurt Rambis apparently believes Rondo can succeed in the triangle, though there’s no guarantee Rambis will be with the team next season.

And Rondo won’t be the only available option on the market. Bobby Marks of the Vertical on Yahoo Sports ranks the Grizzlies’ Mike Conley as the top free agent point guard. Conley said he hasn’t ruled out anything when it comes to free agency, and the Knicks are believed to have strong interest in him.

Marks puts Rondo second, followed by Deron Williams, Jeremy Lin, Brandon Jennings, Tyler Johnson, Ish Smith, Matthew Dellavedova, Jerryd Bayless and Mario Chalmers. A return of “Lin-sanity” to New York seems unlikely, given the rumored tensions with Carmelo Anthony, but the Knicks may be looking at every other name on the list.

That brings us to tonight’s topic: Who will be the Knicks’ starting point guard next season? Will this be the year they finally land a big name in free agency? Can Conley be persuaded to leave Memphis, where he has spent his entire career? Would Rondo be able to fit into the triangle? Or will the top free agents pass up New York, leaving the Knicks to solve their point guard problem through a trade?

Please use the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on the topic. We look forward to what you have to say.

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7 thoughts on “Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 3/20/16

  1. Andrew C.

    I don’t know if or how the Knicks would do this, but I’d look into trading for Brandon Knight. Stock is relatively low and Phoenix should be looking to offload him, even if it’s for less than what they gave away to acquire him in the first place. Then again, Phoenix’s asking price will most likely be too high (any price is really just too high for the Knicks at this point).

    • Andrew C.

      If the Knicks agree to take Chandler’s contract in addition to Knight, then Phoenix should seriously consider a trade. Still have no idea what Knicks would give in return though.

      • Chuck Myron

        The Knicks could give up Lopez’s contract, but without an obvious contractual match for Knight, any trade along these lines would probably have to happen after the July Moratorium when both sides officially open up cap room. That would allow for an unbalanced exchange of salaries.

    • Why trade for Brandon Knight? Brandon Jennings is the exact same player and a UFA. And would cost less b/c he’s coming two injury years and not starting.

      • Andrew C.

        I wouldn’t say that they’re the same exact player. Knight’s more versatile offensively due to his relatively superior size, shooting, and IQ, and would greatly benefit from an offensive scheme that allows him to play off the ball more often and lower his usage- as the triangle apparently does. Jennings has always been known to need the ball constantly and his off-ball reputation wouldn’t fit the triangle as well in my opinion (not to mention his extremely streaky shooting). Knight’s shooting percentages haven’t been all that great as well but that’s because he’s been too heavily relied on to initiate offenses throughout his young career, when his skill set is really more suited for a more secondary role in an offense. Put him into a better fitting system with a real primary scoring option in Carmelo Anthony, and his overall offensive efficiency will improve.

        Both Knight and Jennings have their issues defensively despite having decent length, but I think that Knight’s reputation as a high IQ player will help him develop into a decent defender at some point (despite the countless highlights of him being dunked on or having his ankles broken…poor guy).

        Injuries have been problematic for both players as well, but with Knight being a couple years younger and having a more well-rounded skill set, he has a more upside than Jennings.

        You make a good point that Jennings will be cheaper than Knight, but I don’t see him fitting into the triangle too well. Jennings is best utilized in the transition game, which doesn’t really mesh well with a half-court heavy offensive scheme like the triangle.

  2. Dana Gauruder

    Just a gut feeling they’ll wind up with Brandon Jennings.

    • Arthur Hill

      Do you think that would make Carmelo happy, or would that be the move to drive him out of New York?

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