The New York Knicks are heading into free agency with a full head of steam, strapped with draft capital and funds to be allocated appropriately. However, spending aimlessly should not be a strategy for the front office, but rather bolstering with specific players who can benefit the team long-term should be in mind, but there are a few options to avoid for a myriad of reasons.
Two players the Knicks shouldn’t consider in free agency:
1.) Kemba Walker
The point guard market is projected to be littered with talent this upcoming August, but one option the Knicks should steer clear of is Kemba Walker. Walker is expected to be traded from the Thunder in a trade and flip move. Considering he’s entering the third year of a four-year, $141 million deal, parting ways with capital to acquire a player who played in just 43 games this past season might be seen as negligence.
When Kemba is playing at the top of his game, there’s no question he’s one of the best PGs in basketball, but he hasn’t played over 56 games in two seasons, and as he prepares to turn 32 years old next year, taking a flyer on him could backfire.
In addition, unless Oklahoma is willing to give him away at cost, the Knicks would benefit from avoiding a contract with just one year remaining until a play-option kicks in.
The former Celtic averaged nearly 20 points last year, including 4.9 assists, and shot 42% from the field. He’s not the most efficient three-point shooter, hitting on just 36% over 8.2 attempts, but for a volume shooter, his clip is adequate. He missed the All-Star game for the first time in five years, indicating a less than adequate season in context with his quality. At $36 million next year, New York could look to an alternative like Lonzo Ball for cheaper and commit long-term to develop him into their focal point.
2.) Victor Oladipo
The second player the Knicks should avoid is Victor Oladipo, who could be an enticing option if not for missing the majority of the last three seasons. He hasn’t played over 36 games since 2017 when he made an All-Star appearance with the Indiana Pacers.
At 29 years old, Oladipo is an adequate scorer, averaging nearly 20 points per game, 4.6 assists, and shooting about 41% over 33 games this past season. However, his injury history is troubled, presenting a warning sign for any team that is willing to give him another opportunity.
Considering he is coming off a four-year, $85 million deal unless he’s willing to settle for significantly less this upcoming season, New York should keep their eyes focused on healthier options. They say the best ability is availability.
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