The Knicks have just completed an amazing season. This summer the Knicks should be looking to build on this year’s success. The Knicks have plenty of big decisions to make including their own free agents. In this article, we are going to look at some of the free-agent guards the Knicks have and how likely they are to return.


Photo courtesy of NY Post

Derrick Rose

14.7 pts 2.6 reb 4.2 ast 47% fg 38.8% 3pt

70% Likely

Derrick Rose was a real difference maker for the Knicks this year. He was a real catalyst for the Knicks down the stretch of the season. Also a big factor in Obi Toppin’s turnaround. In the playoffs, he was the Knick’s most consistent player in the 5 games played. His return will depend on what he values most. If what he most values is money the Knicks will not be at the top of the list. Even though the Knicks have his Bird rights they probably won’t be the largest bidder for his services. 

If winning is what he values most the Knicks probably won’t be the front runners either. We have some teams closer to being championship-ready with large amounts of cap space. With a shallow free agency pool, there will be teams with money and a real lack of options. 

Averaging just shy of 20 points a game in the playoffs is a big deal. As a Knick, he shot over 40% from 3 point distance. This type of production would be very valuable for a team that wants to contend. The Knicks probably will receive calls from teams who don’t even have free cap space. Since the Knicks have his Bird rights, a team without cap space can look to acquire him via sign and trade. If Rose wants to go in a different direction the Knicks may want to participate in such a transaction. Every indication so far is that Derrick Rose wants to return to the Knicks. Things get complicated when money and opportunity are involved. Stay tuned to see if the Knicks and Rose’s goals still align this summer.


Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Frank Ntilikina

2.7 pts 0.9 reb 0.6 ast 36% fg 47.9 3pt

60% Likely

Frank Ntilikina has been an enigma his entire 4-year career in the league. Depending on who you are talking to his value can be perceived much differently. One thing is his skill set is needed throughout the league. His reputation as a good defender will ensure that he is employed in the NBA next season. He did not get much playing time during the Knicks 1st round loss. That decision many analysts and fans have been critical of Tom Thibadeau for making. The expected amount he will be paid is up for debate. His qualifying offer would be just over $8.3M if the Knicks extend it. I believe the Knicks will not extend the offer or agree to a deal with Frank Ntilikina during the free-agent moratorium. It is almost a certainty the Knicks will renounce his rights making him an unrestricted free agent. The reason being that his large-cap hold ($18.5M) can be restrictive to the Knicks making moves during free agency. Even if renounced the Knicks can still resign Frank Ntilikina as a free agent. I think that decision will be made based on how the roster looks like when the free agency frenzy settles. 

The question is will Frank wait on the Knicks to make other moves first or will he look to strike a deal with another team fast. The Knicks should be motivated to break the streak of not resigning players they draft. The last rookie the Knicks resigned to a 2nd deal was Charlie Ward in 1999.


Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Theo Pinson

0.1 pts 0.3 reb 0.1 ast 11.1% fg 0% 3pt

50% Likely

Theo Pinson has filled a key role for the Knicks. During a pandemic where the working conditions have been harsh, he was keeping the guys upbeat. That went well beyond the sideline leading cheering he has done. The question becomes will he get the chance to make an impact on the court. If the Knicks have roster spots available after their main moves I think the Knicks would offer him a spot. The question is if another team will offer him an opportunity to make a court impact.


Photo Credit: Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Elfrid Payton

10.1 pts 3.4 reb 3.2 ast 43.2% fg 28.6% 3pt

10% Likely

Most fans didn’t think they would see Elfrid Payton again after last year’s abrupt ending due to COVID-19. We all thought this was confirmed once the Knicks released him with his $1M buyout. Whatever summer move the Knicks had lined up must have failed because the Knicks negotiated a contract with Elfrid Payton once more. But now he was equipped with a no-trade clause. Elfrid had a lot better time scoring this season. However, his tunnel vision and inability to mesh with RJ Barrett were always present. Thibs gave him every opportunity to succeed this season and he never really showed on the court that he was a team player. I believe if he returns to the Knicks again this summer some things have gone very very wrong.


Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Alec Burks

12.7 pts 4.6 reb 2.2 ast 42% fg 41.5% 3pt

35% Likely

Alec has been a key player for the Knicks all season. He has been clutch especially in the 4th quarter of games. His ability to score in bunches has put several wins on the board for the Knicks this season. I didn’t rate an Alec Burks return as very likely. I think the Knicks will be very interested in bringing him back. Alec Burks is turning 30 within the next month. He should be looking to secure a long-term deal this summer. This is the best time to secure his financial future. Can the Knicks make an offer that competes with others teams while keeping in mind their goals? We will have to see. Will another team offer him a better role than the Knicks? That another big question that we won’t know until free agency. Alec Burks accepted the Knicks offer last season pointing out he wanted an expanded role.



What are your thoughts on the Knicks own free agents at the guard position?


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