Soon-to-be free agent forward DeMarre Carroll acknowledged interest in the Knicks and hinted that he wouldn’t mind signing with the Lakers or Clippers, either, in a response to a question about whether he would give a great deal of consideration to the Knicks, reports Marc Berman of the New York Post. The sixth-year veteran who turns 29 in July has blossomed while on a two-year, $5MM contract with the Hawks that expires at season’s end.
“Most definitely,” Carroll said. “When guys talk about playing in certain places — they talk about Madison Square Garden and Staples Center. Those two places. New York has a lot to offer but at the end of the season, I’ll let my agent do that. We’ll keep our options and hopefully it will work out for the best.’’
Knicks coach Derek Fisher likes Carroll, and his defense in particular, a source tells Berman. Carroll is a proficient rebounder, grabbing 5.4 per game this season, but his defense is a minus, according to both ESPN’s Real Plus/Minus and Basketball-Reference’s Box Plus/Minus. Those metrics show him as a better offensive player, and he’s transformed his attack in Atlanta, shooting nearly six times as many three-pointers the past two seasons as the rest of his NBA career put together. He’s made 39.6% of his shots from behind the arc this year and is averaging a career-high 12.7 points per game.
Berman figures the Mark Bartelstein client will command a starting salary around $5MM, but Grantland’s Zach Lowe would be surprised if he doesn’t see more than that (Twitter link). Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal speculates that Carroll’s in line for $6MM salaries (Twitter link). In any case, it would seem he’s due a significant raise on the more than $2.442MM he’s making this season. The Hawks only have Carroll’s Early Bird rights, so unless they use cap space, they’d be limited to a starting salary of a figure that will likely come in just shy of $6MM when the league’s average salary is computed during the July Moratorium. Still, Atlanta, just like the Knicks and Lakers, is in line to open a significant amount of cap room this summer, depending in large measure on what happens with Carroll and Paul Millsap. The Clippers are unlikely to have the sort of cap flexibility it would take to land Carroll.
Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders wrote more than a month ago that it appeared the Hawks were looking for an upgrade at small forward, where Carroll plays. Still, it would be tough to envision the Hawks not having at least some interest in re-signing a player who has found his niche within their system. The team on Monday awarded Carroll the Jason Collier Memorial Trophy for his work as a community ambassador, as Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes, so clearly the club is high on his character.