Speaking today to reporters, including Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News, Knicks head coach David Fizdale expressed a belief that the franchise will be an attractive destination for 2019 free agents. As Fizdale explains, he and the current management group have worked hard to change the idea that the Knicks are a toxic or poorly-run organization.
“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.
“Hopefully all of those things, with the combination of the understanding we have Kristaps Porzingis there, too, this team isn’t necessarily what our record is when you put him in the mix,” Fizdale continued. “We have something free agents will like.”
The Knicks should have the flexibility to open up enough cap space for a maximum-salary free agent in 2019, and are expected to pursue Kevin Durant and other stars. While Fizdale, who said that Dolan is “on board with everything we’re doing,” didn’t identify any specific targets, he suggested that the Knicks should be in a “good position” to make strong pitches by the time the free agent market opens next July.
Enes Kanter, who has expressed a desire to remain with the Knicks beyond his current contract, agrees with head coach that Fizdale, Perry, and Mills have helped improve the culture in New York.
“There was this thing that people don’t want to come here or they were just scared,” Kanter said, per Bondy. “With all this new front office, with the coach and everything, it definitely changes. If you see the moves, see the pieces have changed, you see all the young guys have come in and everything, I think it’s definitely changing. It’s definitely going to a good destination.”
Although the Knicks certainly appear to be on the right track, with Fizdale making a positive impact early in his tenure and the front office avoiding short-sighted roster decisions, they’ll face plenty of competition in 2019 free agency. The Lakers, Clippers, Sixers, Bulls, and Nets are among the other big-market clubs expected to have significant cap room.