Potential Knicks free agent targets for the 2023 offseason

Max Strus could be a free agent target for the Knicks
Miami Heat guard Max Strus (31) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III in the first half of Game 1 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals playoff series in Boston, Wednesday, May 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

With the NBA Finals over and the Denver Nuggets standing atop the NBA landscape, it’s time to look ahead to the offseason. For the Knicks, who don’t have a pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, that means the free agent market. 

The Knicks are over the salary cap for next season but will likely be looking to shed the salaries of Evan Fournier and Derrick Rose, which will give them a bit of breathing room before they enter luxury tax territory. That could mean adding a free agent via the non-taxpayer exception, which is worth $12 million, and the $4.5 million bi-annual exception.

Heading into free agency, the Knicks have just three key players who could leave via free agency: Rose, Josh Hart, and Miles McBride. 

The Knicks seem hell-bent on keeping Hart, which they could do through Bird rights, and McBride has a club option that the team could pick up, so New York may only really need to fill one spot with, most likely, a perimeter shooter who would add floor spacing.

So who are a few names who could fit this bill and be in the Knicks’ price range?

Donte DiVincenzo – SG, Golden State Warriors

Donte DiVincenzo is the name that is most often linked to the Knicks because he can shoot the ball from deep and he played at Villanova. Obviously, with Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart thriving, adding another former Wildcat in New York isn’t a bad thing.

DiVincenzo has to decline his player option, first, but if he does, the Knicks should be keen to sign him since he shot 39.7% from deep this year and is a strong defender, which would make him a great addition to the rotation.

Donte DiVincenzo could be a Knicks free agent target
Donte DiVincenzo dribbles up the ball for Golden State in 2022-23 (wikimedia commons)

Lonnie Walker IV – SG/SF, Los Angeles Lakers

Lonnie Walker IV was inconsistent early in his career with the Spurs, but he had a good season for the Los Angeles Lakers, averaging 11.7 points per game while shooting 36.5% from three. He also had a big playoff game in Game 4 against the Warriors, scoring 15 points in the fourth quarter of a Lakers win, which shows that he has the mental toughness to compete in big moments. Considering he also plays solid defense, he could be a strong bench option for the Knicks. 

Max Strus – SG, Miami Heat

Max Strus looked like he may price himself out of New York with his strong playoff run, but his early-round success faltered a bit in the later rounds, and he ended up shooting just 40.2% from the field and 31.9% from deep. However, he is a career 37.1% three-point shooter and moves well without the ball, which is something the Knicks desperately need.

Seth Curry – SG, Brooklyn Nets 

Another name commonly linked to the Knicks is Seth Curry. He too is a strong three-point shooter, hitting 40.5% from beyond the arc for the Nets last season, and is fifth among players with at least 1,500 career attempts with a 43.5% mark from deep. However, he’s 32 and not a great defender, so he’s not as great an option as some of the names listed above him. 

Yuta Watanabe – SF, Brooklyn Nets

We have another Nets player on this list. Watanabe started the season out on fire for Brooklyn but got hurt and then got lost in the shuffle as the Nets restructured their entire roster. He’s not quite the defender that a player like DiVincenzo is, but he also shot 44.4% from deep this year and is a career 39% three-point shooter, which could make him a great bench option to stretch the floor. 

Yuta Watanabe could be a Knicks free agent target
Brooklyn Nets’ Yuta Watanabe (18), of Japan, celebrates with teammates after a dunk by Kyrie Irving during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in New York.AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Trey Lyles – PF, Minnesota Timberwolves

This one is a little outside the box because the Knicks really need perimeter defense and three-point shooting, and you don’t usually get that from a power forward. However, Lyles is more of a stretch four, shooting 36.3% from three this season while also showing the ability to play solid defense. The only bench big the Knicks really have is Isaiah Hartenstein, who is not a great shooter, so Lyles could bring a unique skill set. 

Josh Okogie – SG Phoenix Suns

These next two options are not sexy and are more about creating more depth in the rotation. Okogie is just 24 years old and was originally picked by Tom Thibodeau in the 2018 NBA Draft, back when Thibodeau was the coach and president of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Okogie is a tremendous perimeter defender but has better size at 6’4″ than Miles McBride, who is also a great perimeter defender but couldn’t seem to truly win over Thibodeau. 

James Johnson – SF/PF Brooklyn Nets

James Johnson is 36 years old and played just 18 games last season so this is not an exciting signing but is also one that competitive teams make. The Knicks could bring him in on a vet minimum contract and use him for his excellent defense and ability to mentor younger players. 

Christian Wood – C, Dallas Mavericks

We’ll end with a super out-of-the-box option because the Knicks don’t have a need at center. Right now. 

There are also rumors that the Knicks are trying to package Mitchell Robinson in a trade, and if that were to happen, Wood could be a great option to fill his shoes. While Wood is not the defender that Robinson is, he is a far more dynamic offensive player. In his two seasons in Houston, he averaged 19.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists while shooting 38.4% from beyond the arc. 

Coming off of a poor year in Dallas, his market may not be as strong as it would have been a year ago, but having a center with the ability to create his own shot and stretch the floor could be great for the Knicks. 

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