It doesn’t have to be Jalen Bronson or a bust.
While the Mavericks free agent is clearly the Knicks’ number one target to fill the cavernous hole at the guard post, there are other options to improve the team now that they’ve stripped nearly $20 million of cover space and plan to create more.
Zach Braziller of The Post breaks down a few more possibilities as the free agency period approaches:
The Pacers have put their 29-year-old main guard in the trade block now that they have younger players in the backcourt to build around, such as Therese Halliburton and Benedict Mathurin’s first-round pick. Brogdon possible for the Knicks.
The former Virginia star was a productive player throughout his six-year NBA career, averaging 15.5 points, 4.8 assists and shooting 37.6 percent from a 3-point range.
Comes with injury risk. Brogdon only appeared in 36 games last year and hasn’t appeared in more than 64 competitions in a season since his rookie year. It is also expensive. According to Spotrak, he owed $22.6 million in 2022-23, and $22.5 million for each of the following two seasons.
It’s by far the most likely option on this list, and it’s going to take a long time. However, the rebuilding Spurs are willing to move Murray for several first-round picks, according to Bleacher Report. The Knicks have 11 first-round picks over the next seven years, and up to four picks in next year’s draft.
The 6-foot-4 guard would be a franchise change-up, and playing Murray alongside RJ Barrett would give coach Tom Thibodeau one of the best backyards in the league. Murray is coming off an exceptional season, in which he scored 21.1 points, 9.2 assists and 8.3 rebounds and is still only 25 years old with two years remaining on his contract.
The former Duke star has had a solid role with the Grizzlies, emerging this year as a key piece for one of the league’s top youth rosters. As a free agent, Jones may now be able to make money.
A good defender who rarely turns the ball on himself, he has come off the best season of his career, hitting career highs (8.7), rebounding (2.4) and shooting with three points (39.0 percent) in just 21.2 minutes per game. His numbers were even better when Ja Morant came out and expanded his role, with the 6-foot-tall Jones scoring 12.7 points and 6.6 assists in 23 games.
With Memphis relegated Kennedy Chandler of Tennessee to the NBA draft, Jones is likely heading to a new team.
As with Brogdon, there are concerns about infection. He’s coming off a torn ACL and a bit tall, at the age of 31. But he’s a real keeper who can really run a team, which the Knicks have been missing for years.
Rubio had a great season last year for the Cavaliers before he got hurt, producing 13.1 points and 6.6 assists. The Knicks could give him a light workload, rotating in Derek Rose, Emmanuel Quikley and Miles “Deuce” McBride at this point.
He’s a local guy, hailing from Fairview, NJ, and he wouldn’t be too expensive. Anderson’s 6-foot-9 isn’t a superstar — his best season of the 2020-21 season came with the Grizzlies when he averaged 12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists — but he does a lot of things well.
Perhaps most important to the Knicks is that the free attacker defends and can be a secondary playmaker. Last season, he had a defensive rating of 106, tied for best player in Memphis.
This wouldn’t be a great move, but it could be effective, especially if the Knicks are unable to take down a new guard post and can use more high-ranking passersby.