The Knicks are focused on trading Carmelo Anthony and becoming a younger team, but scarce financial resources may prevent the team from landing a max free agent, ESPN’s Ian Begley writes. Free agents Jrue Holiday and Jeff Teague are potential targets for New York, league sources tell Begley. However, with eight players on guaranteed contracts for next season, team president Phil Jackson said during a recent a press conference that the current team has “a dozen players that we’re very confident can support and be a part of a team. So we feel pretty good about that.”
Upgrading via free agency may be contingent on the Knicks trading Anthony, whom Jackson indicated “would be better off elsewhere” during the aforementioned presser. Begley notes that a hypothetical Melo trade could clear about $5MM in cap room, giving the Knicks $24MM — the team’s current cap space calls for $19MM available for the Knicks to spend.
However, a lot of Begley’s hypothetical offseason spending includes the Knicks not re-signing any of their young players. So if the Knicks intend on upgrading, players such as Jrue’s older brother Justin Holiday, Ron Baker, Maurice Ndour, and Chasson Randle may suit up elsewhere in 2017/18.
In other news around the Atlantic division.
- The Nets maintain interest in Euroleague guard Edwin Jackson, according to Nets Daily. An earlier report indicated the club’s interest in the 27-year-old guard, who is averaging 21.8 points in 30 games for Movistar Estudiantes of the Liga ACB in Spain. The 6’1″ French guard has never suited up for an NBA team but he was in Nets camp three years ago, per Nets Daily. Jackson has indicated he would come stateside for a guaranteed NBA deal or seek a lucrative offer in Europe.
- Nets Daily compiled a list of potential European targets for Brooklyn in addition to Jackson. Milos Teodosic, 30, Nicolo Melli, 26, and 2011 second-round NBA draft pick Tyler Honeycutt, 26, — who revived his career in Turkey — are listed as potential free agent options; Latvian-born Rodions Kurucs, 19, and Anzejus Pasecniks, 21, are both listed as possible draft targets.
- In an attempt to contain the Cavaliers’ offense, Raptors head coach Dwane Casey may start Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals with Jonas Valanciunas and DeMarre Carroll on the bench, SportsNet’s Michael Grange writes. Both men — who were major signings by team president Masai Ujiri — have underperformed this postseason and Casey is “desperate” to jumpstart his team. Norman Powell and rookie Jakob Poeltl are likely to see significant playing time if Casey goes in that direction.
- As he heads for free agency, Amir Johnson remains positive despite dwindling playing time for the Celtics, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe relays. While Johnson got the start for Boston tonight in Game 2, he has been a liability on both sides of the court for most of the postseason. Johnson led the Celtics in games (80) and starts (77) in the regular season and maintains he’s trying to work out of his slump. “If things aren’t working out for you, you know you’ve got to do the next thing,” Johnson said.