Donovan Mitchell’s name might be dominating the New York Knicks headlines, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other moves the team could be working on behind the scenes.
After all, the Knicks still have two open roster spots, and the added depth will ensure they are well-positioned to firmly put last season’s struggles behind them. Of course, it’s hard to imagine Leon Rose and William Wesley signing a deal before the Mitchell saga is over — even if it’s just to make sure their cap room doesn’t get polluted.
Still, according to Sports Illustrated’s Ben Stinar, the front office should give Jabari Parker a closer look because the journeyman forward is currently a free agent and could increase the Knicks’ firepower off the bench.
“There is no question he can still score the ball on one occasion. At worst, it could be good insurance in case someone gets hurt or goes through a burglary. But he could also be a player to rely on off the bench,” Stina wrote in his July 22 article.
Parker spent last season with the Boston Celtics, participating in 12 games in which he averaged 4.4 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.5 assists per game while shooting 47.4% from the field and 50% shot from the depths. Parker was dropped by the Celtics in January as they attempted to open a roster spot.
Parker may not be the explosive force of nature he came out of college, but he’s still a capable goalscorer and finisher and showed a glimpse of the defensive side when he was deployed as a small-ball-drop fullback in Boston.
However, the whole point of Parker’s game at this point in his career is his ability to get hot and score on all three levels. Sure, there are times when he can’t buy a bucket, but when he feels it, Parker knows how to find the bottom of the net, and that could be invaluable to a fledgling Knicks banking unit.
According to Cleaning the Glass, last season Parker converted 56% of his attempts on the rim, 36% of his shots from middle range and 53% of his three-point attempts, which while a small sample size shows the opportunity Parker can still make into one Contribute to the NBA team.
While Parker makes sense for the Knicks, it’s clear their focus is bringing Donovan Mitchell to New York. And according to a report by The Athletic’s Shams Charania on July 14, the two teams have started negotiations over the framework of a potential deal.
“The Jazz are in talks with multiple teams about a Mitchell deal, but the Knicks have emerged as a target in recent days, sources said. Both sides have been discussing a deal framework for the past 24 hours, these sources said,” Charania wrote in his July 14 column.
Sitting down to negotiate and agreeing on a deal are, of course, two completely different things, and only time will tell if both the Knicks and the Utah Jazz front offices can come to an agreement that works for everyone is working. But that doesn’t mean the Knicks should stop looking elsewhere to improve their roster.