After many years of struggling, the Knicks are finally a playoff team. However, they are far from having a deep playoff run and contending for the title. Their current lineup needs an upgrade if they want to become a powerhouse. The Knicks offseason 2021 is a pivotal one.
Knicks offseason preview 2021
With that said, the Knicks offseason is very intriguing. They have a lot of flexibility with their cap space and draft picks. This gives them the leverage to sign free agents that can bolster their lineup.
Let’s take a look at the Knicks offseason and what should they focus on this summer.
Extend Randle’s contract
Julius Randle has been a revelation this year. Last season, his averages were 19.5 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. This year, he jumped to 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 6 assists per game which crowned him the Most Improved Player. He helped the Knicks clinch the fourth-seed—their first playoff appearance since 2013.
Obviously, he is the Knicks’ best player. Re-signing him would be ideal if they are going to contend for the upcoming years. The question is when will he sign and how much?
The Knicks can extend Randle’s contract this offseason which would get him $119 million for 4 years plus a fully guaranteed salary next season. In fact, the two parties are already planning to talk about an extension this summer.
However, Randle can bet on himself and play it out until next season. If that move turns out well, he can get an estimated 5-year maximum contract worth $201 million.
Test the free agency waters
The Knicks are a legit playoff team now. The current Knicks’ success made the Big Apple a favorable destination for free agents once again. Thus, they should try to land some notable free agents in the upcoming offseason to upgrade their lineup.
Adding impactful players who fit the Knicks’ culture is a must. They should aim to become a deep playoff team next season, and that involves adding key players this summer. In doing so, they can attract bigger superstars in the stacked 2022 free agency.
Second, they could also upgrade their 3-pt shooting. In a league that is dominated by threes, they should get more firepower from beyond the arc. They shouldn’t rely too much on Rose, Barrett, and Randle taking threes. Some notable shooters available this summer are Duncan Robinson, Norman Powell, and Gary Trent Jr.
Re-sign their key players
A big part of the Knicks’ success is their current lineup. It’s a no-brainer for them to re-sign everyone else and run it back. That means re-signing key players such as Derrick Rose, Nerlens Noel, Reggie Bullock, and Alec Burks to continue building up their current chemistry.
They also have two first-round picks and two second-round picks. This gives them the chance to draft a playmaker and a 3 and D wing who can help them right off the bat.
Determine what to do with Knox and Ntilikina
The Knicks offseason should also focus on what to do with their two former lottery picks.
Kevin Knox‘s struggles are well-documented over the years. The former lottery pick was drafted by the Knicks and banked on his potential to become their next star. And it didn’t turn out well.
The same goes for Frank Ntilikina. The former lottery pick was projected to become one of the league’s best defensive guards. While his defense was there, his offensive game was lackluster and hasn’t developed over the past few years.
Should the Knicks explore trading those two for a player that fits better? Or should they stick with them and hope that they can turn it around?