New York Knicks could maintain cap space for max player in 2022 free agency

The New York Knicks might not be interested in pursuing Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul or other big-name free agents in the 2021 offseason, according to the latest NBA rumors. Earlier reports suggested that the Knicks were in hot pursuit of a few All-Stars and All-Star caliber players ahead of the upcoming free agency period.

But Ian Begley of SNY reported recently that another option for the New York Knicks is to wait until next year to acquire a maximum-salary player.

“As recently as last month, a source said the Knicks have talked internally about the possibility of holding enough cap space this summer for 2022 and keeping enough money around to be able to go after a max player in that 2022 class, which should include Zach LaVine and Bradley Beal.”

Kawhi Leonard, who will be out for several months after undergoing surgery to repair a partially torn right ACL, is likely going to opt in and stay with the LA Clippers this offseason. Even if he were to be available, the New York Knicks are likely to be extra cautious in handing out a max contract to a player who has suffered a second major injury in five years.

Chris Paul, on the other hand, is currently in the 2021 NBA Finals with a shot at winning the title with the Phoenix Suns. He is unlikely to abandon them after taking the side from being playoff hopefuls to championship contenders in just one season. Everyone expects Paul to re-sign with the Suns this summer.

It is unclear, however, what this means for the New York Knicks’ pursuit of a steadier hand in the point guard position this offseason. They had initially set their sights on Lonzo Ball and Dennis Schroder in free agency.

NBA Rumors: New York Knicks targets for 2022

Bradley Beal #3 celebrates after a play.
Bradley Beal #3 celebrates after a play.

Begley mentioned names such as Zach LaVine and Bradley Beal as potential targets for the New York Knicks in the 2022 offseason. If, as NBA rumors have proposed, the Knicks are able to keep their cap space, they will certainly be in line to sign either or both of these players.

Of course, just as they did this past season, the New York Knicks will have to put a winning product out on the floor for the 2021-22 season for free agents to look their way next year. Thanks to 2021 Coach of the Year Tom Thibodeau and 2021 Most Improved Player Julius Randle, the Knicks exceeded expectations during the regular season despite losing in the first round of the playoffs.

Another winning season and a second-round finish should be enough to entice would-be free agents to consider playing for them. As a big market team, the New York Knicks are already one of the most coveted destinations for players, but nothing beats winning and going deep into the postseason.

If they have another successful season, players like LaVine and Beal will consider signing for them as a possibility next offseason.

Also Read: 3 things Milwaukee Bucks need to do to clinch title against Phoenix Suns in Game 6 | 2021 NBA Finals

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