Jason Kidd’s retirement gives the New York Knicks a little more flexibility when it comes to improving the roster for next season. Besides the mini mid-level exception, which should be around $3.2 million, (although the NBA had yet to release the exact figures) the Knicks were in a position that would allow them to only offer veteran minimun contracts. Now with Kidd walking away from the game the Knicks will have an extra 3 million dollars which they can use in addition to their mid-level exception to acquire a player who can contribute immediately.
Currently the Knicks backcourt consists of Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni. Based on reports it seems there’s about a 50/50 chance at Prigioni returning to the NBA next season, which means the Knicks desperately need to address the void in the backcourt.
The best availible option for the Knicks in the draft, based on where they will be picking could be University of Miami point guard Shane Larkin. Larkin who is the son of former Major Leaguer Barry Larkin, will most likely be gone by the time the Knicks are on the clock, seeing that his impressive performance at the NBA Draft combine has him shooting up teams draft boards. This would mean the Knicks may have to dig a bit deeper to find a replacement for the future hall of famer.
A few other names that could be in the mix include Ricardo Ledo (Providence), Lorenzo Brown (NC State), Pierre Jackson (Baylor), Nate Wolters (South Dakota State) and Isaiah Canaan (Murray State). With the exception of Ledo, any of these players would be a bit of a reach with the 24th pick which may prompt the Knicks to pursue PG depth in free agency and pick the best player available on draft day, whether that be a player like North Texas’s Tony Mitchell or a big man to sure up there front line like Jeff Withey out of the University of Kansas.
There are a few decent names available via free agency but certainly no one who will make you jump out of your seat. Check back next week when we address these players and more in our Knicks offseason free agent target list.