New York Knicks: 5 keys for a more successful 2019

Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images /
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New York Knicks
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images /

5. Deal with the unappealing contracts

This may come as a surprise, but the New York Knicks do not currently possess that many bad contracts. Nevertheless, some work could still be moved in order to improve the team’s financial flexibility.

Shooting guard Courtney Lee has just been inserted into the lineup after missing the first period of the season with an injury. Lee is set to make $12.8 million during the 2019-20 season, but it seems like he is superfluous to the team.

By trading Lee, possibly to a contender that could use a pretty useful 3-and-D player, it’d create even more flexibility to pursue bigger stars among the 2019 free agent pool, rather than role players like the Knicks did in 2018.

Another unpleasant contract is Lance Thomas. The 6’8” power forward signed a four-year, $27 million deal back in 2016, though it is not guaranteed for the 2019-20 season. With the arrival of Kevin Knox, the forward-heavy 2019 free agency class and Kristaps Porzingis‘ return on the horizon, the Knicks don’t need another forward on their roster.

Last but not least, we have the team’s leading scorer (as of now) in Tim Hardaway Jr., who has been New York’s go-to guy ever since the season began.

While his 20.7 points per game are certainly welcome, it is uncertain whether the Knicks need him taking up more than $18 million of their payroll. This decision becomes undeniably easier when you account for the fact that we’re approaching a draft class full of wing players that could do exactly what Hardaway does, but at a lower price.