What's next for Knicks? Free agency
NBA teams began negotiating with free agents at 12:01 a.m. Here is what's on the New York Knicks' to-do list:
Re-sign J.R. Smith. The Sixth Man Award winner agreed, along with his family, to first meet with Knicks coach Mike Woodson and the team's front office on Sunday night to discuss Smith's future in New York.
Two factors that would keep Smith from returning are if he wants to start and if he wants to make more than $5.58 million, the max the Knicks can offer him with early Bird rights. The Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns are prepared to bid for Smith's services.
Keep Pablo Prigioni and Chris Copeland. Both players are now restricted free agents after receiving qualifying offers from the Knicks.
In an ideal world, the Knicks would split up their mini mid-level exception of $3.18 million to sign both players, but Copeland could demand more than that amount alone. He could have up to eight teams making offers. At least two, the Bucks and New Orleans Pelicans, are prepared to make attractive bids for Copeland, according to a league source. When free agency officially tipped off, the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers were the first two teams to inquire about Copeland, a league source told ESPNNewYork.com.
Retain Kenyon Martin. A source close to K-Mart told ESPNNewYork.com that he's "confident" the power forward wants to return. The biggest hurdle is the Knicks likely only being able to offer the veteran's minimum.
Add another point guard and big man. Point guards could include Aaron Brooks, A.J. Price, Sebastian Telfair, Jamaal Tinsley and Earl Watson. A league source said the Knicks are interested in Brooks, who was recently waived by the Rockets and is represented by Leon Rose, whose clients include Andrea Bargnani, Carmelo Anthony and Smith.
Bigs could include Andray Blatche, Elton Brand, Samuel Dalembert, Lamar Odom, Shavlik Randolph, Anthony Tolliver, Chris Wilcox and Brandan Wright.
A league source said Spurs big man DeJuan Blair will not be a candidate for the Knicks because of their limited financial flexibility. Chris Andersen is another intriguing prospect, but he wants to return to Miami.
Though they don't have much room to spend, "the Knicks never do what you think they will do," another league source said. As the Andrea Bargnani trade proved, that's certainly true.
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