The Knicks struck out making the last Latvian forward happy in New York, but they may try out another one.
Washington’s sweet-shooting combo forward, Davis Bertans, is on their wish list, as reported in Friday’s Post. Free agency begins at 6 p.m. The Wizards hope to re-sign the 28-year-old Bertans but want to keep the numbers down.
One projection by The Athletic’s John Hollinger is the 3-point marksman could make as much as $19 million per year — which is similar to former All-Star Gordon Hayward. Yes, 3-point shooting is at a premium.
Bertans drained 42.4 percent of his 3s on 13.9 attempts per 100 possessions, which could make him the perfect Hayward alternative. Only James Harden and Buddy Hield took and made more threes.
Bertans elected not to play in the Orlando restart for the woebegone Wizards to protect his free agency. He spent the time working out and honing his shooting further. The Wizards were a long shot to even reach the play-in contest — and indeed went 1-7 inside the bubble.
In 54 games, Bertans averaged 15.4 points. Bertans’ decision not to play perhaps bodes well for the Knicks and his suitors as he hasn’t played since March 10 — coincidentally against the Knicks. He shot 3 of 9 – all 3-point attempts — in a Wizards’ 122-115 victory.
The Knicks are desperate for 3-point shooting from the forward position. Currently they don’t have a set starting small forward. First-round pick Obi Toppin projects as more of a power forward defensively. However, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau is starting to embrace position-less basketball.
The Knicks have $35 million in cap space after taking on Ed Davis’ $5 million contract Thursday in a trade with the Jazz. They are not competing against many teams along the cap-space front but over-the-cap teams could pull off a sign-and-trade.
The Knicks, who once owned the most famous Latvian athlete, disgruntled Kristaps Porzingis, could also conduct a sign-and-trade – just to make Washington willing to let him go. That is where perhaps one or two of the three 2023 second-round picks they’ve accrued this week can come into play.
Bertans and the Knicks became connected during the 2019 free agency. The Spurs came to an agreement with Marcus Morris by trading Bertans away to open cap space. But after the deal, Morris backed out of the agreement to sign with the Knicks.
The Spurs have been angry since and figure to be in play to get Bertans back.
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