Part of the reason why Carmelo Anthony opted to re-sign with the New York Knicks was the idea of cap space opening up in 2015. The albatross contract of Amar’e Stoudemire is finally expiring, in addition to Andrea Bargnani‘s massive salary. As a result, the Knicks will have enough flexibility to sign one free agent to a maximum salary.
Anthony is likely to have heavy input on who New York pursues, whether it be Rajon Rondo, Marc Gasol or Greg Monroe. Seeing as New York recently acquired a starting point guard in Jose Calderon, and that Gasol will turn 30 in January, Monroe is the most viable option.
Monroe has been caught up in a disastrous situation with the Detroit Pistons, who refuse to negotiate a more favorable contract. Instead, it appears as if he will sign his qualifying offer of nearly $5.5 million in order to allow himself to hit free agency next offseason, but this time unrestricted. He has shied away from negotiations with various other teams mainly because of his restricted status this offseason.
Since Detroit has the right to match any offer sheet Monroe receives, he has been reluctant to sign due to his doubts about Detroit as a long-term NBA home.
All signs are pointing to Monroe’s departure next summer, leaving the Knicks as a potential suitor. The big issue here is if Anthony and Monroe can coexist since neither player is a defensive juggernaut. Well, who better to solve this issue than Phil Jackson? As the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, Jackson was forced to figure out a way to make the Pau Gasol–Andrew Bynum frontcourt work even though neither Bynum nor Gasol were known for their defense.
Clearly, Jackson discovered a resolution fairly quickly since he won back-to-back championships with them.
If New York did in fact agree to terms with Monroe, a defensive anchor in the middle would likely be necessary, but that could be addressed pretty easily. I’m sure Anthony would give his sign of approval on the 6-foot-11 big man from Georgetown, especially since he may be up for grabs below the maximum salary.
This would give the Knicks additional room to construct a more well-rounded team than if they opted to pursue Gasol or Rondo instead.
If New York can acquire Monroe he will bolster their frontcourt enough to make any team think twice before attacking the paint as well as making Knicks tickets one of the most demanded in the NBA.