Just last month, Phil Jackson made it clear the Knicks would look to rebound from this year’s disappointing cellar dweller through free agency. It’s a strategy only big-market teams can afford, even though the CBA was supposed to make it easier for mid- and small-market teams to compete. But Jackson also has the luxury of a top draft pick, and if it’s their first No. 1 since Patrick Ewing in 1985, then Karl Towns is their likely choice.
But that still leaves a bevy of free agents this summer for New York to chase, and while Marc Gasol is at the top of most team’s wish lists, including New York, the Knicks have a not-so-secret crush on Pistons forward, Greg Monroe. Frank Isola of the New York Daily News has more on Monroe’s likely bid from the Knicks:
Maybe the worst kept secret in the NBA is that Phil Jackson plans to pursue Detroit Pistons forward Greg Monroe in free agency this summer. In fact, one league executive called it “about as close to a done deal as you can get.”
A done deal is illegal of course and would open Jackson and the Knicks to tampering charges. A more likely scenario is that representatives from both parties have made their interest known and will proceed accordingly once the free-agent recruiting period begins on July 1st. It happens all the time.
Isola points to Jackson’s connection to Monroe’s agent, David Falk, someone Jackson has been familiar with since he represented Michael Jordan in Chicago. Along with that symbiotic relation to his rep, Jackson’s buddy Charley Rosen recently said Monroe is the perfect player for the triangle offense. Even if the Knicks president of basketball operations doesn’t want to hear about the triangle anymore, Isola says he’s still assessing players based on how they fit his scheme when looking to build off this season’s disappointment.
The biggest issue is whether Monroe could co-exist in a front court with ‘Melo and Karl Towns. That trio sounds good on paper, but Monroe was unable to co-exist with Josh Smith and Andre Drummond in Detroit, which is part of the season GM and coach Stan Van Gundy waived Smith and will likely let Monroe leave in unrestricted free agency this summer. Then again, a triumvirate of ‘Melo, Monroe and Towns might be the only way the Knicks get within the same stratosphere of 63 wins.