It is no secret that the Knicks will be strapped for cash during the 2013 offseason. With so much money invested into Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, the Knicks have very little financial flexibility. All they have is the mini mid-level exception of $3.18 million and a bunch of veteran’s minimum salaries to try to improve their roster. However, Glen Grunwald has stated in press conferences that he and his team of officials will try to get creative in order to help the Knicks. Knowing the Knicks, who knows what can be in store.
Aside from the star players about to enter free agency (Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Josh Smith), the free agent pool is pretty weak. The Knicks’ primary needs are young big men, quick guards and rebounders. Based on what the Knicks have to offer free agents, some realistic targets should include Aaron Brooks, Al-Farouq Aminu and former Knick Timofey Mozgov.
Aaron Brooks is a fairly quick and athletic point guard who knows how to put the ball in the basket. He may not be the best passer, but he would serve as a quality back up to Raymond Felton who could knock down the open 3 or take the ball to the hole. Several seasons ago, he averaged 19.6 PPG and 5.3 APG with the Houston Rockets, and coming off of a bad second half of the 2012-2013 campaign, where he did not see the court as much, the Knicks may be able to get him cheap.
Al-Farouq Aminu is definitely a player the Knicks should attempt to sign. The 22 year old averaged 7.3 PPG and 7.7 RPG last season with the New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans). He was a crucial piece in the trade that sent Chris Paul from the Hornets to the Clippers 2 seasons ago. Aminu still has tremendous upside as an inside scorer and rebounder. Not to mention, his extremely long wingspan has made him a very capable defender. If he were to be signed by the Knicks, he could become our starting small forward if Coach Woodson decides to stop using the 2 point guard starting lineup, Aminu could become a quality starter for the Knicks.
Timofey Mozgov might be the most “posterized” player in the NBA in recent memory. Aside from getting dunked on, the 26 year old has many other talents that he can provide for the Knicks. In limited minutes with the Nuggets this season, Mozgov shined as a solid rebounder, inside scorer and intimidating shot blocking presence. The Knicks need all of these attributes from a backup big man. If the Nuggets do not sign Mozgov to his nearly $4 million qualifying offer, the Knicks can offer the young Russian their taxpayer mini mid-level exception and a guarantee of more playing time that he has been desperately seeking for several years. It is also possible that the Knicks can pull off yet another sign-and-trade with the Nuggets to acquire the big man but that is highly speculative and the chances the Knicks are able to pull off a sign-and-trade with any team are extremely dependent on other factors, such as where the Knicks’ own free agents are heading.
This will be yet another offseason where the Knicks will be strapped for cash, as the new Collective Bargaining Agreement definitely does not help out the Knicks in their quest to capture a championship.
In his short time with the Knicks, Glen Grunwald has proven himself as an extremely competent and creative general manager. Let’s all hope that Grunwald can somehow get creative with the finances and pull off some great moves that will bring the Knicks another step closer to the promise land.