New York has been struggling to find its footing in recent years. The city is currently dealing with a resurgence of crime and an increased number of homeless people on the streets, all while trying to remain relevant as a cultural hub. There are ways for New York City to rebound from this setback that have yet to be utilized by some major institutions in the area such as schools and hospitals.
The New York Knicks went from being a potential Eastern Conference contender to becoming the conference’s most disappointing club. The Knicks followed up their fourth-place finish in the Eastern Conference by missing the NBA Playoffs entirely this season.
Julius Randle failed to improve on last season’s All-Star performance; the Kemba Walker experiment faltered; and Derrick Rose missed the last four months of the season. Cam Reddish was acquired in a midseason trade by the New York Knicks, but his season was cut short due to a lack of playing time and a season-ending shoulder injury.
Despite this, there’s reason to hope the Knicks can turn things around. They have a number of intriguing rookies on their squad, as well as a fair amount of draft money and roster flexibility. Here are three moves the Knicks can make this NBA summer to get back on track.
Collin Sexton should be signed by the New York Knicks to play point guard.
#Cavs Collin Sexton, out for the season following knee surgery and with his dad watching from behind the bench, getting buckets in a pregame workout ahead of the matchup against the Hawks (after this, he went straight to the workout area and did some strengthening exercises). pic.twitter.com/RqeHK3hk8S
— Chris Fedor (@ChrisFedor) March 31, 2022
The Knicks will not be able to go forward unless they find a long-term point guard. Collin Sexton is a smart New York pick.
Yes, there are a few obvious flaws in Sexton’s character. He’s rehabbing from a damaged meniscus, for starters. Meanwhile, without him, the Cleveland Cavaliers enjoyed a breakthrough season and are in the playoffs. The Knicks, on the other side, have more strengths than drawbacks.
Sexton is a good perimeter shooter with natural speed and a knack for getting inside off the dribble. He’s coming off a season in which he averaged 24.3 points per game and has demonstrated that he can lead the scoring assault. Sexton’s ability to score would be a welcome addition to Tom Thibodeau’s attack.
RJ Barrett had a solid season, particularly in terms of becoming a more consistent scorer. However, in order to compete in the East, the Knicks will need an exceptional forward or an effective, youthful point guard; they do not collectively represent a danger on offense.
Sexton will play with a chip on his shoulder, and the Knicks have nothing to lose by signing him. They can afford to sign Sexton to a big prove-it contract by dealing or rejecting two to three of Walker, Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, and Taj Gibson’s club options next season. If necessary, they may complete a sign-and-trade focused on Reddish, which would help to balance the Knicks’ rotation while also providing the Cavs with a good perimeter player.
Mitchell Robinson should be replaced with Mo Bamba by the Knicks.
Mitchell Robinson of the New York Knicks | Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Robinson’s days with the Knicks seem to be numbered. According to SNY, they re-signed Noel to a deal worth about $10 million per year, gave rookie big man Jericho Sims significant playing time down the stretch, and are apparently “not close” to extending Robinson’s contract. With that in mind, Mo Bamba would be a significant addition to the Knicks’ roster.
Last season, Bamba, the No. 6 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, came into his own with the Orlando Magic. The former Texas Longhorn started 69 of the 71 games he played in and had an impact on both sides of the court. With his shot-making skills, he spread the floor, shot a career-high 38.1 percent from beyond the arc, and finished in the paint while still acting as a defensive pillar.
Bamba would bring a fresh dimension to the Knicks’ offense regardless of who starts at power forward next season (Randle or Obi Toppin). Three of the Knicks’ four big men/centers mostly score in the paint and don’t provide a threat from the perimeter (Robinson, Noel, and Sims).
Bamba would open up the floor for Sexton (if he’s brought on board), Barrett, and Randle to operate independently. Bamba has a history of injuries, but so does Robinson, so the injury worries are moot.
With Orlando likely going ahead with Wendell Carter Jr. and Franz Wagner in their frontcourt, New York should be able to sign Bamba for a price of $8-$10 million per season.
RJ Barrett should be extended by the New York Knicks.
Barrett is the finest thing the Knicks have going for them, and they should build their team around him in the future. Barrett, in other words, should be extended by the Knicks this summer.
The former Duke Blue Devil had a rough rookie season, but he showed flashes of being able to go inside off the dribble. He got more forceful in the next season. Barrett has probably emerged as the Knicks’ best player this season. He made easy shots, was forceful with the ball in his hands, guarded effectively, and remained a credible perimeter threat. Barrett averaged 20.0 points per game throughout the season.
Is Barrett’s performance flawless? Obviously not. He’s still inefficient, and he has to work on his mid-range game. At the same time, Barrett’s NBA career has been marked by one constant: improvement. Every year, the 21-year-old has elevated his game to the next level, and the next step is to fame.
Barrett isn’t a max-level player, but rather one who is one level below it. For both parties, a four-year, $112 million contract ($28 million average yearly compensation) seems reasonable. The Knicks are spending a bit less than a maximum contract on a guy who is very good but not outstanding. Barrett may be a steal for the Knicks if he develops into a star in the future years.
Barrett’s present wealth is a touch more than a $28 million average yearly wage, and becoming a star isn’t a certain conclusion. Barrett, on the other hand, will be a free agent in his prime if he becomes a perennial All-Star. If the Knicks move Randle, who starts a four-year, $117 million deal next season, at any time in the following 18 months, the contract will look better for them.
Basketball-Reference provided the statistics. Spotrac provided the contract numbers.
MO Bamba Demonstrates to Orlando Magic Management That They Can’t Risk Trading Him