Knicks feel ‘less inclined’ to trade for Russell Westbrook and his massive salary, looking for long-term cap flexibility

From the great Ian Begley:

After three days of free agency, the Knicks still have $18 million in cap space. And it doesn’t seem like they’re in a hurry to use it.

Even after Sunday’s Ed Davis trade, teams were under the impression that the Knicks remain open to providing cap relief to general managers looking to offload salary.

They’ve already done it twice in separate transactions with veteran Ed Davis, acquiring three second-round picks and two young players (Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman).

Depending on how the Charlotte-Gordon Hayward signing plays out, the Knicks could help the Hornets shed any salary needed to complete the transaction via sign-and-trade. Of course, New York would want to acquire an asset from either Charlotte or Boston in exchange for providing the cap relief.

The Knicks could also sit tight during the rest of the free agency period and use the cap space at the trade deadline to absorb a contract from a team looking to clear money in free agency.

Begley threw in some commentary at the end that I think will ring true with us here at Knickerblogger:

Based on what we’ve seen over the past few days, New York is taking a patient approach in Year 1 under Rose. That could mean another long season for the Knicks in 2020-21. Based on current roster composition, it seems like the young Knicks (RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, etc.) will have an opportunity to play a ton and learn on the job. That hasn’t been the case in year’s past.

Obviously, fans looking for a big acquisition in the 2020 offseason were disappointed with the first few days of free agency. The Knicks should have another chance to land a star in the summer of 2021. New York can have significant cap space that summer and will have two first-round picks in what should be a strong draft. (In all, they have eight first-round picks and 11 second-round picks in the next six drafts)

So the waiting game may continue for long-suffering Knicks fans. But Rose & Co. didn’t do anything in free agency that the franchise may regret in a couple years. That alone seems like a step in the right direction.