Knicks Target Tucker, Cunningham, Simmons

The Knicks are putting together their free agent shopping list with an eye toward players who can contribute on offense and defense, writes Ian Begley of ESPN.com.

One of those players is Raptors small forward P.J. Tucker, who previously played for coach Jeff Hornacek in Phoenix. Hornacek describes Tucker as an intense defender and a leader in the locker room. He could also give the Knicks a 3-point threat, shooting 35.7 from long distance this season, including 40% after a midseason trade to Toronto.

Another target is Pelicans small forward Dante Cunningham, who was the top 3-point shooter in New Orleans this year at 39.2%. Cunningham is also a solid defender and helped the Pels to a 13-8 record when he played at least 28 minutes per game.

Spurs forward Jonathon Simmons has fans in the Knicks organization, but he will be in demand around the league. Simmons is a restricted free agent, so San Antonio can match any offer he receives.

New York will enter free agency with about $19MM to spend, although that number could change significantly if efforts to trade Carmelo Anthony are successful. In addition to adding talent this summer, the Knicks are hoping to retain shooting guard Justin Holiday, who played all 82 games and averaged 7.7 points per night in his first year with the team.

The Knicks may also reopen trade talks for Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio, Begley adds. New York and Minnesota discussed a deal involving Rubio at the trade deadline, and Knicks officials might still be interested.

New York will be looking for more players in the mold of Courtney Lee, who was their lone success among last summer’s major moves. Lee, who is signed for three more seasons, believes the Knicks worked out many of their problems late in the season and are headed in the right direction. He also defended center Joakim Noah, who became a lightning rod for criticism after signing a four-year, $72MM contract.

“Joakim had a lot of injuries that people weren’t aware of during the season,” Lee said. “I know how tough he is and how prideful he is and I’m looking forward to him coming back 100 percent healthy and doing what he does for us on the court. I know he will come back strong and help lead for us.”

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14 thoughts on “Knicks Target Tucker, Cunningham, Simmons

    • Dionis

      Tank for what? Whats the plan here? It should be to put together a team that can challenge the Cavs. The Knicks can do just that by making the right moves this off-season, bring in Tucker to be the starting SF. Draft Malik Monk and sign Jeff Teague to a good deal. They have the big fish in Porzingis which is the most important.

      • ericl97

        the Knicks have absolutely no chance to put together a team that can challenge the Cavs. maybe by like 2020, but certainly not this coming year. also, Porzingis has a lot to work on still to be considered a “big fish”. don’t ever compare Porzingis to LeBron again. also, Teague isn’t even an average point guard in today’s NBA. and Tucker, as much as I love him because im a raptors fan, will not put you over the top. Knicks fans are absolutely clueless.

        • Dionis

          Ey man i respect your opinion but I really see Porzingis taking that leap next season regardless of who is put around him. With no Melo around, he’ll get all the touches he needs to mold into that superstar he will be. The Cavs are not an unstoppable force, the Knicks just need to put defense around Porzingis and hope Noah stays healthy and they’ll be just fine.

          • Grant
            Grant

            Theoretically yes that would be a competitive team with tucker and Noah anchoring a defense so Monk, Lee and Porzingis can focus on scoring and Teague as a floor general. But in reality Noah isn’t going to be what he was in Chicago after all of his injuries and Teague and Tucker aren’t coming unless the Knicks were a proven contender which they aren’t plus Anthony’s untradeable contract severly limits the money needed for either of those players. These are the Knicks main issues and could probably be solved by a competent GM but Jackson is not as he continues to alienate his talent (Anthony/Porzingis) making it all the more likely no one wants to be a part of it. He might have a high basketball IQ and have a good vision but his people skills and stubbornness will prevent him from anykind of success unless the next Lebron falls in his lap

  1. padam

    Target players like Courtney Lee? What has he done? Simmons? Tucker?

    All good role players off the bench, but not players that can challenge today’s best teams. The Knicks need to build through the draft and rid the big contracts. Once there kids get established, then you can fill gaps with max contract free agents and role players.

    • Dionis

      Simmons might turn into a very good player with an expanded role. Imagine him at the 3 with Porzingis at the 4, Noah at the 5, draft Monk to play the 2 and try and sign a point guard like George Hill who brings veteran leadership and solid defense to play in the triangle. Thats a very solid team that can grow together and I believe Monk can turn into a 1st option, he’s crazy clutch and can score in bunches.

      Hill-Monk-Simmons-Porzingis-Noah plus the Knicks can flip Melo for a package of Crowder and the other Celtics pick or flip Melo for another 1st round pick. There are so many ways Phil can turn the Knicks around this very off-season.

      • GuruGray

        Dionnis, you’re forgetting about the salary cap. No way they can afford to sign Simmons and Hill or any other comparable point guard

        • Connorsoxfan

          They can if they trade Melo. Not resigning Rose and trading Melo opens up a lot of space. Not to mention other moves they could do.

  2. Reflect

    Hopefully they’re also targeting someone who can GM and someone who can coach

  3. Bob Knob

    RE: PJ Tucker (age 32 next season)
    on the court about 28 minutes … giving you :
    7 points
    6 rebounds
    1 assist

    Is this really a wise target in F/A ?

    What am I missing ?

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