There’s speculation that the New York Knicks are looking for a long-term point guard, and Jrue Holiday seems to fit the bill.
Holiday’s in the final term of his four-year, $41 million contract extension that he signed back in 2012. At 26, the former first-rounder is soon going to start playing the best basketball of his life and could easily return to All-Star form if he stays healthy. Because the Knicks have a foggy future at the point guard spot, Holiday is someone that New York is expected to throw some dollars at.
ESPN’s Ian Begley reported this, and it comes a day after the team waived Brandon Jennings and a couple of months before Derrick Rose‘s contract expires. Chasson Randle got brought on to split time with Ron Baker after waiving Jennings, but neither has showcased any potential to run the team. They could get there, but, assuming the Knicks want to win now, Holiday is a much safer option.
Also Read: Knicks waive Brandon Jennings
Of course, free agency signings work both ways. Holiday may be some negative things, but he’s shaking those this year and is far from a scrub. With a stat line of 15.9 points, 7.4 assists and 1.6 steals, he’s having his best season since being named an All-Star back in 2013. Here are all the players who are putting up those numbers this season:
With how money is handed out, Holiday is almost guaranteed to see a max offer sheet from someone, and that someone could be Phil Jackson. However, the Zen Master is going to fight against the Pelicans, the Philadelphia 76ers, any other team with salary cap depth and the recent incompetence of their owner.
Knicks management looks so bad that they’d have trouble selling ice to an Eskimo.
Holiday’s a hot commodity because he’s got good size — 6-4, 205 — and has shown that he can be a difference-maker when healthy. He creates for others as often as he creates for himself, but he’d be a much-needed upgrade on the defensive end for the Knicks.
New York is a train wreck defensively and boasts a rating of 111.5, good for 25th in the NBA. The New Orleans Pelicans are 10th in defensive efficiency, and Holiday forces improvement. Per 100 possessions, New Orleans is 3.7 points better with Holiday on the court, according to Basketball-Reference. He’s able to apply relentless pressure, be a pest and create turnovers, and while that would continue in New York, the team’s defense wouldn’t improve.
Holiday’s able go all-out with New Orleans because he’s got Anthony Davis protecting the hoop. When perimeter players know they have an intimidating presence behind them, it allows them to play defense differently. The Knicks don’t have that, and that’s why Jennings, who played a similar style, got exposed on defense.
Yes, the numbers on offense would offset it, but that wouldn’t translate to the win column unless the Knicks figure out what they want to do on both ends of the court. They’re using the final months to re-incorporate the triangle and see who’s proficient in it.
It’s evident they don’t want to tank, and they might sneak into the playoffs if they get hot at the right time.
For Holiday, the ideal landing spots are New Orleans or Philadelphia. The Pelicans are now loaded with DeMarcus Cousins alongside Davis, and passing up the opportunity to be the orchestrator on that team is too good not to contemplate. If he were to make a return to Philly, he’d make them that much better, but is it worth it with the uncertainty of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid?
Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But the most intriguing narrative this summer will be if Holiday bothers to give the Knicks the time of day during negotiations.
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