The New York Knicks are already setting their sight on some key free agents this off-season. Ian Begley of ESPN reported that the Knicks have a short list of players who can help the team on both ends of the floor and fit into the ‘system guy’ mold of team president of basketball operations Phil Jackson.

In today’s NBA, two-way players are always hot commodities in the free-agency market. Last year, Jackson salvaged a bona fide offense-defense guy in Courtney Lee, who averaged 10.8 points on 45 percent shooting (40 percent from beyond the arc) and locked up the opposing team’s best perimeter player.

The Knicks are projected to have a maximum cap-space of $19 million. Of course, that figure could increase if Jackson will be successful in unloading Carmelo Anthony to a team that has cap space like the Boston Celtics or the Philadelphia 76ers. But right now, their focus is on the blue-collar two-way players who can impact the game the same way Courtney Lee did throughout the entire 2016/17 season.

P.J Tucker

According to Begley, the Knicks have preliminary interest in veteran P.J Tucker. The Knicks have long coveted Tucker for being a tough defensive player and a solid three-point shooter. His numbers aren’t eye-popping (5.8 ppg and 5.4 rpg), but he can certainly provide the on-ball defense and floor-spacing (40 percent from beyond the arc) the Knicks sorely missed last season. Moreover, Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek also lauds his former player in Phoenix for being a strong locker room presence.

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NBA

Jonathon Simmons

Simmons introduced himself to NBA introduced himself to NBA fans as the hardworking guy who waged $150 for one final shot at his NBA dream. He made it through and has since become a major part of Gregg Popovich’s bench mob last season. However, Simmons put himself in better position to earn more money this summer after putting a series of strong performances in the playoffs.

In the series vs.

the Rockets, Simmons played a crucial role in disrupting James Harden’s offense for the last two games of the series. He also showed flashes of his offensive game against the Golden State Warriors, when he was required to step up for injured star Kawhi Leonard. With his stellar playoffs, Simmons is expected to see a dramatic increase in his paycheck from $500K to possibly $10M per year. The Spurs can still match any offer sheet presented to him because of his status as restricted as restricted free agent.

Dante Cunningham

Cunningham is gritty veteran who is never scared of banging against opposing big men.

Last season, he averaged 6.6 points and 4.8 rebounds in under 25 minutes per game. When the Pelicans need some floor stretcher to give Anthony Davis some real estate down low, Cunningham developed his outside shooting and became one of the best three-point shooters (career best 39 percent from beyond the three-point line) at the power forward spot. Moreover, he also proved to be a really good plus-minus player as the Pelicans went 13-8 when he played at least 28 minutes.

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