Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer
The Knicks are expected to put forth an effort to upgrade the point guard position this summer, and reportedly have recently crowned NBA champion Patty Mills in their sights.
Why would a key member of arguably the best organization in The Association want to go elsewhere? For starters, New York could offer a more lucrative contract (the team will be shopping for a floor general using the mini mid-level exception worth approximately $3.2 million) and an increased role while playing on the Big Apple stage.
All of this would seem to be attractive to Mills, the 25 year old sharpshooter. In addition to playing a key role off the bench for San Antonio this past season, he’s also been a star of Olympic competition for Australia over the years. A true gunner from all around the perimeter, Mills is not one to shy away from rather big moments. Instead, he happens to thrive in them.
Still, one has to wonder if Mills would be equally as effective, should a team like the Knicks look to depend on him a bit more. How much can his most recent success be accredited to the way the Spurs play in San Antonio? Is he simply a stellar product of an unique system?
Should he sign with the Knicks, Mills would be expected to play more minutes while running the offense a bit more as well. Though the youngster is used to providing an offensive spark off the bench, he’d also be tasked with getting his teammates involved in New York. Whether he’d be able to handle such a transition remains to be seen.
That said, Mills’ individual scoring prowess would undoubtedly still be a welcomed bonus. As J.R. Smith struggled early on and Amar’e Stoudemire took a while to find his rhythm, the Knicks had difficulty finding a secondary scorer next to Carmelo Anthony this past season.
Of course, New York is looking to reel in another floor general as an upgrade to Raymond Felton, who had a rather underwhelming campaign this past year in his own right. Having said that, his legal troubles aside, the Knicks’ guard still has a rather reasonable contract. He’s set to make under $4 million next season.
Phil Jackson will reportedly look to trade Felton this summer, but perhaps it’d be worth keeping him around. At his current contract, he wouldn’t exactly be overpaid as a backup. What’s more, holding on to Felton would seemingly take some pressure off of Mills. This would give new coach Derek Fisher the flexibility of starting either one, but perhaps still playing Mills down the stretch in the fourth quarter, either way.