Greg Monroe spent five solid years in Detroit after starring at Georgetown, but didn’t quite fit in with the Pistons, especially after Stan Van Gundy took over. They are letting the #7 pick from the 2010 draft walk. With free agency starting July 1, Monroe seems to be a realistic target of the Knicks.
I’m not entirely sure it’s wise to give Monroe big money a week after drafting a 7-foot-1 forward, but I guess the Knicks understand that Kristaps Porzingis won’t be a contributor for at least his first couple seasons. Let’s be honest – Monroe is no true center. He’s not protecting the rim, but he could excel as a passer in the triangle.
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Arron Afflalo is another story. He’s a plus defender on the perimeter, but he is turning 30 in October has had an up-and-down shooting career. He’s about to be on his 4th team in three years. Is he still living off his best season in Orlando (18.2 ppg, 45% FG, 42% 3FG)? And the Knicks just drafted Jerian Grant, who could be an immediate contributor.
Here’s my thing: You need a rim protector. DeAndre Jordan will be impossible to pry away, but would it be wise to save money you’re going to spend on Monroe – who doesn’t play much defense – and instead go after an underrated player like Kosta Koufos? What about Brandan Wright? It took him a few years to ‘get it’ after arriving from UNC, but both he and Koufos are better defensively than Monroe.
I’m not as bullish on Afflalo as the stat guys are. Danny Green is younger and a better shooter – sure, maybe it was the system in San Antonio – who probably will be the same price. Frankly, I think you could pry Rodney Stuckey away from Indiana for less than what Afflalo would want.
The Knicks have options – mostly middle-tier free agents – but with a lot of cap room and not a lot of talent on the roster, why not wisely spend some money on three guys, vs spend all the money on two guys, and hope you can find enough talent to get into the 35-40 win range?
The East is a LeBron James injury away from being wide open. And yes, New York is still far behind the likes of Miami, Atlanta, Chicago and Washington in terms of talent, and not even on par with 2nd tier teams like Toronto and Milwaukee.
After the “Big 4” in the East, the argument could be made that even rising Orlando, Charlotte, and teams like Indiana and Brooklyn are all an injury away from being near the basement with the Knicks and 76ers.