Knicks team president Phil Jackson is a “big fan” of Evan Turner, as Chris Mannix of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports hears. Mannix, speaking in an appearance on Comcast Sportsnet Northeast (video link), said he expects the Knicks to pursue the swingman in free agency this summer and pointed to the relationship that Turner’s agent, David Falk, has with Jackson dating to Falk’s days as Michael Jordan’s representative. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and coach Brad Stevens earlier this month expressed their fondness for Turner, who’s indicated that his preference would be to stay in Boston.
The Nets were also reportedly fond of Turner, though that news came before the team removed Billy King from the GM job. Turner has started fewer games this season than in any since he became the No. 2 overall pick in 2010 and is shooting a career-worst 18.3% from 3-point range, but he’s carved out a niche as a sixth man in Boston and averages 27.4 minutes per contest. His 6’7″ size makes him an intriguing candidate for the Knicks, since Jackson has traditionally favored taller guards for his triangle offense. The Zen Master said around the time New York hired him that smaller guards were more useful now than in the past, however.
It’s unclear if Jackson is enough of a fan to see Turner as a starting-caliber player. Plenty of talk in recent days has surrounded the idea of Rajon Rondo signing with New York. Rondo, the NBA’s leading per-game assist-maker, would probably be a higher priority for the team, though Jackson has spoken about a desire to sign multiple players of consequence this summer. The team’s flexibility to do so likely hinges on what Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams decide to do with their respective player options, which total $12.598MM. The Knicks otherwise have about $55MM in guaranteed salary against a salary cap projected to come in between $90MM and $95MM. Turner is making almost $3.425MM this season, the last in a two-year deal he signed in 2014 after a poor finish to the 2013/14 season with the Pacers, so he seems destined to earn much more in what Mannix expects will be a robust market for him this summer.