- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Lopez, who met with the Milwaukee Bucks earlier on Wednesday, is one of several big men the Knicks have strong interest in. New York met with PF/C Greg Monroe on the first night of free agency and has plans to meet with LaMarcus Aldridge and Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan in Los Angeles, sources told ESPN’s Chris Broussard.
The Knicks do not have any centers under contract for next season. The club will likely be in competition with the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and Clippers for the big men on the market. It's worth noting that any team that misses out on Monroe, Aldridge or Jordan will likely have strong interest in Lopez.
The Knicks have approximately $26 million in cap space to spend this summer and can offer a max contract.
It is unknown if New York has offered a contract to Monroe yet, but given the financial climate, it seems most likely that Monroe will command a max contract. A maximum deal for Monroe starts at approximately $15 million.
If the Knicks inked Monroe to a maximum deal, they would have less than $12 million to spend in the 2015 offseason, with a need at shooting guard still to address.
With Danny Green off the board, the Knicks remain interested in Portland’s Wes Matthews and Arron Afflalo, sources say. The New York Daily News reported that New York will meet with Afflalo on Thursday.
The Knicks also have interest in Orlando small forward Tobias Harris, a restricted free agent. Orlando will have the chance to match any offers to Harris, and Magic GM Rob Hennigan has said publicly that he plans to match any offers made to Harris.
NY interested in McDaniels: The Knicks have reached out to restricted free agent K.J. McDaniels, per league sources.
As a one-year veteran and a restricted free agent, McDaniels can only get a first-year salary up to the non-taxpayer mid-level exception. For 2015-16 that exception is worth $5,464,000. The Rockets, his latest team, have that exception available to them. As long as they don't use it prior to McDaniels signing an offer sheet, they can use the exception to match the offer.
The second year of the McDaniels deal can go up 4.5 percent and can increase significantly in Year 3. The Knicks have the cap space to offer McDaniels a deal that starts at the maximum of $5,464,000, and McDaniels is believed to be seeking a deal in that neighborhood.
Thomas coming back? The Knicks have also been in contact with forward Lance Thomas and have discussed a potential new contract for him, sources said. Thomas played 40 games for the Knicks last season and the coaching staff appreciated his professional approach during the Knicks’ disastrous 17-win season.
The San Antonio Spurs and Brooklyn Nets have also expressed interest in Thomas, according to league sources familiar with the discussions. The Knicks have also registered interest in Derrick Williams, per ESPN’s Chris Broussard, and Kendrick Perkins, per ESPN’s Royce Young.
Chandler inks big deal: It was hard for Knicks fans to ignore one contract agreed to on Wednesday. Ex-Knicks center Tyson Chandler agreed to a four-year $52 million deal with the Phoenix Suns. Phil Jackson sent Chandler and guard Raymond Felton to Dallas last June in return for Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Wayne Ellington (who was later waived) and two second-round draft picks, which turned into Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo.
The circumstances surrounding that trade were different, but it’s hard to ignore how much value Chandler has to other teams when you consider what Jackson received for him in a trade.