The Knicks plan to target Reggie Jackson, Jimmy Butler and Wesley Matthews, among others, this summer, league sources tell Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops. Scotto also hears the team will go after Greg Monroe, echoing an earlier report. A pursuit of Matthews would be contingent on the team missing out on Butler, Scotto adds, but Butler is a long shot at best. The Bulls are poised to make a max offer to the soon-to-be restricted free agent and executive VP of basketball ops John Paxson has already said he’ll match any offer sheet he signs. Scotto also names the Knicks as a potential free agent suitor for Draymond Green, though Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob has hinted that he intends to retain Green, who’s also due for restricted free agency, and all signs point to the Warriors matching any offer for the third-year forward.
There are conflicting reports about the likelihood that the Thunder will trade Jackson before the deadline, but the Knicks came close enough to trading for Jackson last month that he thought he was on his way to New York, and the Knicks are likely to make another go at trading for him. Jackson, too, is in line for restricted free agency, but he’s apparently open to signing his qualifying offer, which would give him a discounted salary in exchange for unrestricted free agency in 2016. In any case, the Knicks probably don’t have the assets to make a play for Jackson at the deadline, as I wrote when I examined Jackson’s trade candidacy, so a free agent pursuit makes more sense.
Matthews, the only unrestricted free agent aside from Monroe whom Scotto mentions, has expressed a desire to return to the Blazers based on their winning ways, which contrast sharply from the performance of the 10-42 Knicks this season. Marc Berman of the New York Post mentioned Matthews as an example of the sort of second-tier free agent whom Berman says many believe the Knicks will target this summer, couching the report amid a piece on the team’s plan to go after Tobias Harris, yet another restricted free agent.
The Knicks have a little more than $32.717MM committed for next season against a projected $66.5MM salary cap, leaving room for multiple so-called second-tier free agents. Scotto hears from several GMs who estimate Green will receive salaries anywhere from $10MM to $14MM. Some teams reportedly believed at the beginning of the season that Jackson would command between $13-14MM. It’s unclear just how much it would take to sign the others the Knicks are eyeing, aside from Butler, who appears in line for the max from the Bulls.