New York Knicks Rumors: Have Knicks Set Sights On Two Free Agents?


New York Knicks Rumors: Could Greg Monroe and DeMarre Carroll Be Coming To The Big Apple?

Once the final buzzer sounds on Wednesday night, the New York Knicks will immediately turn their attentions to what is shaping up as an important offseason. With how poorly the Knicks played throughout the 2014-15 season, vast improvements will be made to the roster. The first chance the Knicks will have to do that with is the NBA Draft. After that, free agency looms.

There are plenty of different approaches the Knicks can take to free agency. Armed with a ton of cap space, they can sign literally anyone they want; the question is who will want their money? Depending on who you ask, some people will say the Knicks need to sign big-named players such as LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol or Rajon Rondo.

They can also attempt to sign restricted free agents such as Jimmy Butler or Kawhi Leonard, but that could gunk up the process this summer, as they would then be in a holding pattern with any other free agents they talk to until the respective teams of the restricted free agent decides if they want to match the Knicks’ offer and retain the player, or let them leave.

Others say they need to focus on the second and third tier players, building the foundation of the team to grow upon along with the top-six pick they will have in June.

Aldridge and Gasol both seem likely to re-sign with their respective teams, while Rondo has seemed to wear out his welcome in Dallas, but does not fit the plans the Knicks have said they want to continue using beyond this year. Butler and Leonard will be tough to pry away from the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs, so, as things are currently situated, going after the supposed second and third tier players seems to be the likely path for the Knicks.

Two of the players the Knicks could potentially be targeting have been discussed in recent days, as Detroit Pistons power forward/center Greg Monroe and Atlanta Hawks shooting guard/small forward DeMarre Carroll could both be heading to New York next season.

Jan 2, 2015; New York, NY, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Greg Monroe (10) dunks during the first quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier in the week, it was being reported that Monroe to the Knicks is as close to a done deal as you can get. Now, the Knicks would be facing some serious tampering charges if they have in fact begun negotiations with any player, but armed with the cap space and front court needs the Knicks have, Monroe is a logical target.

The 24-year old Monroe took an unconventional route last season, signing his qualifying offer with the Pistons to ensure that he became an unrestricted free agent in 2015. He was unhappy with the direction the franchise was going, and was not happy when Josh Smith was signed, which was equivalent to putting a square peg into a circle hole.

The signs are there for a Monroe and Knicks pairing, as the Knicks have a need for a big man, and Monroe’s agent, David Falk, has a history with Knicks president Phil Jackson going back more than 20 years when he was representing Michael Jordan. He will be looking to land his client as close to a max contract as possible, and the Knicks will more than likely happily provide him one.

It is fair to question if Monroe deserves a true max contract, but he has performed well in his time with the Pistons, and would be a great fit for the triangle offense Derek Fisher runs. In 67 games this season, Monroe is averaging 16.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. He would be a nice complement to Carmelo Anthony in the front court as he can knock down perimeter jump shots and would help on the glass.

Monroe obviously denied the reports that were made by the Daily News’ Frank Isola, saying “You write it’s a done deal, there must be another Greg Monroe around here that I don’t know about, because I haven’t agreed to anything.” Monroe would go on to add that the report was “not factual at all,” prior to the Pistons’ final home game of the season Tuesday.

"“This stuff right here, it’s unfortunate that we have to talk about it. I know we have to. But I talk to my agent every day, and I know for sure, I’m 100-percent, 1,000-percent confident, that he hasn’t done anything. If they (the Knicks) have interest, maybe they might have commented on that. But I haven’t even gotten to that place yet. And we, as players, have to come in and answer for it when we have absolutely nothing to do with it.” – Greg Monroe"

No one expected Monroe to say anything differently, as there would be a lot of fines and problems caused if he said otherwise. But come the summer time, it would surprise no one if he does end up in New York.

For Carroll, that may be more of a surprise for some people. Carroll is the starting small forward on a Hawks team that is first place in the Eastern Conference and looks poised to make a postseason run. So why would he leave them for the Knicks? Because he pretty much said that much Monday night.

Nov 10, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Atlanta Hawks small forward DeMarre Carroll (5) makes a no-look pass against New York Knicks shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (5) during the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. The Hawks defeated the Knicks 91-85. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

When asked about if the Knicks would rank high on his destination list when he becomes a free agent this summer, Carroll replied with, “Most definitely. When guys talk about playing in certain places, they talk about Madison Square Garden and Staples Center. Those two placed. New York has a lot to offer but at the end of the season, I’ll let my agent do that. We’ll keep our options open and hopefully it will work out for the best.”

His agent is actually one of the things that could draw Carroll to New York as well. His agent, Mark Bartelstein, has worked with the Knicks a lot in the past, as he was the agent for former Knicks Steve Novak, Shannon Brown and David Lee. Also, four of his clients, Tim Hardaway Jr., Louis Amundson, Jose Calderon and Jason Smith, are currently employed by the team.

He also has a relationship with Fisher, as the two worked out together a couple of years ago. Carroll credits Fisher for being one of the people who encouraged him to keep going after being a first round selection of the Memphis Grizzlies in 2009.

It has taken Carroll some time to get his footing in the NBA, but he has turned himself into a solid player any team would love to have. He is a self-made players, as Carroll is a tenacious defender and has turned into a reliable three-point shooter. After making only 27 three-pointers at a 28.4 percent clip, Carroll has knocked down 213 the last two season at a 38 percent clip.

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That would fit in perfectly with the Knicks, as they had hoped Iman Shumpert would turn into a three-and-D type player, but he was made a casualty of the roster purge this season, being shipped to the Cleveland Cavaliers along with J.R. Smith. Carroll would fill a need on the wing as a defensive minded player that can spread the floor for Anthony on the offensive end of the court. He has a well-rounded game, also averaging 5.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game this season to go with a career-high 12.6 points per game.

Both Monroe and Carroll would greatly improve the Knicks for the 2015-16 season if they indeed land both players this offseason. They won’t help the Knicks reach the 60-plus wins that Fisher mentioned over the weekend, but they would represent a step in the right direction.

Those two along with a top pick and healthy Anthony would give the Knicks to compete in the Eastern Conference and really put the wheels in motion for turning around the franchise after what has been the worst season in the stories history of the Knicks.

Next: Who Is The Best PG All-Time For The Knicks?

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