After signing Tim Hardaway Jr. to a fat contract, the New York Knicks are looking to sign a veteran point guard under the MLE contract. Rajon Rondo?
The Knicks’ plans of signing a big free agent this summer failed miserably, especially after signing their former guard Tim Hardaway Jr. to a four-year, $71 million contract.
There’s pretty much no more room to bring in a player to change the losing culture in New York. However, according to Ian Begley of ESPN, they have less than $2 million in cap space and a $4.3 million exception to offer free agents at the moment.
The remaining money seems to be set for veteran point guard Rajon Rondo, who definitely has interest in signing with the Knicks. That may not be enough money for Rondo, but they are working on creating more cap space once Melo is gone.
There remains mutual interest between the Knicks and free agent point guard Rajon Rondo, per league sources. Both sides are in touch as the Knicks continue to search for a veteran point guard. Rondo is likely one of several guards they are considering. New York has less than $2 million in cap space and a $4.3 million exception to offer free agents at the moment. But the club may create cap space via trade; the Knicks remain interested in trading Carmelo Anthony. There isn’t unanimous support in the organization for signing Rondo. But it’s worth noting that young players in Sacramento and Chicago have raved about Rondo’s mentorship and his ability to assist with player development. The Knicks are looking for a mentor to rookie Frank Ntilikina.
In addition, New York likes Rondo because of what he did to the Chicago Bulls youth. Rondo was a beautiful mentor in Chicago and actually stood up for them against other NBA stars.
When Bulls stars Dwyane Wade and former Bull Jimmy Butler questioned the youth intensity and willingness to win, Rondo erupted and took the younger guys under his wing.
Rondo spent a lot of time in practice with the young core in Chicago. Once he lost his starting role in Chicago, he went straight to the second unit and help the rookies/sophomores develop their game throughout the season.
His former Bulls teammate Nikola Mirotic praised Rondo, saying he is the best teammate he ever played with, Mirotic told NBC sports reporter.
“Along with Pau (Gasol), he’s the best teammate I’ve ever had,” Mirotic said.
“I feel so comfortable with him and I think all the young guys do,” Mirotic said. “He’s very honest. He’s talking all the time, supporting before the game, after the game, during the practice. He’s always positive. Even if something is not going well, he’s trying to help young players. It’s been great to have him here.”
The Knicks need somebody like Rondo for their new rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina to help adjust to the NBA pace and style. Ntilikina might take a little time finding his game after playing basketball in France, but fundamentals are huge overseas. That is his advantage. His knowledge. The question remains how athletic or “game changing” is he?
Rondo nor Ntilikina is an offensive-minded point guard, but that’s exactly what the Knicks want. They need a pass-first point guard. New York needs a point guard that can help develop Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez in the future. The Knicks offense will come from Porzingis, Hernangomez and Courtney Lee (if he’s still there) in the starting lineup. So, there’s no pressure on Ntilikina to score.
Having Rondo will help take additional pressure off of him and will help Ntilikina distribute the ball the right way.
Lastly, inserting Rondo into the team is like having more than one head coach on the floor, an ideal situation for the young men on the team.