Community Shootaround: Can The Knicks Land An Elite Free Agent?

Although there are four months left in the season, the Knicks are already thinking about next summer. Whatever progress the organization has made in developing a young base of talent, the team hopes to jump start that by signing one of the elite free agents who will hit the market on July 1.

Management has gotten an early start on the selling process, with coach David Fizdale saying this week that he believes the Knicks should be an attractive destination and are no longer viewed around the league as a poorly run club.

“What I think we’ve done together with (president) Steve Mills and (GM) Scott Perry and (owner) Mr. (James) Dolan and myself and all our staff, is we changed the perception of how we operate and treat each other and what’s important,” Fizdale said. “That’s the first step in getting people to come to New York. When they see we have a really tight ship, really take care of our guys, our guys get better and get a lot of attention.”

The Knicks will have several selling points to the free agent class of 2019, starting with the ability to free up enough cap room for a maximum contract. New York is on the edge of being able to offer a full max deal now with a little more than $78MM tied up in salary for 2019/20 against a projected cap of $109MM. Finding a taker for Courtney Lee‘s $12.76MM deal for next season would give the team plenty of breathing room.

Kristaps Porzingis may not play this season as he recovers from a torn ACL, but he is expected to be fully healthy in time for next year’s training camp. A top free agent may be tempted to join Porzingis, who was in the middle of his first All-Star season when he was injured, plus a young core that includes Tim Hardaway Jr., Kevin Knox, Emmanuel Mudiay and Mitchell Robinson. New York also seems destined for a high lottery pick, occupying the fifth spot in our latest Reverse Standings.

The allure of playing in Madison Square Garden can also be pitched to free agents, along with the chance to turn around a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs or posted a winning record since the 2012/13 season.

We want to get your opinion on the situation in New York. Do you believe the Knicks can lure a top name in a group that will include Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard and several others? Please leave your comments in the space below.

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