This summer's free-agent class will feature the likes of Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker and Klay Thompson, among others.
The Knicks, who currently have the third-worst record in the league, may not be the ideal destination for a free agent given their struggles, even if Shaquille O'Neal advocated for New York.
But that said, Knicks head coach David Fizdale has a message for all free agents.
"Win and then money comes," Fizdale said, according to the New York Daily News' Stefan Bondy. "And just play good team basketball because right now our success doesn't show up in wins. But when we play good, hard-nosed basketball, where we look like we're sharing the game eventually wins will come out of that. But people pay attention."
Moral victories may not matter much to some, of course. But the Knicks appear to be headed in the right direction. Of course, they have Kristaps Porzingis, the injured All-Star who is eligible for a five-year contract extension this summer through restricted free agency. And they also have young players like Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina and Allonzo Trier.
Plus, they could also land a top-three draft pick in a star-studded NBA draft that will presumably include prospects like Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish and Ja Morant.
Fizdale has been adamant in playing the long game in the Knicks' rebuilding process, and he knows individual selfishness is something he wants to avoid.
"It shows up ugly on the TV screen," Fizdale said. "But if you're busting your hump and you're doing it for the team and taking care of your numbers, that's what teams are looking for. I stress that to them a lot, whether it's going to be with us or with another team, people are looking for winners. They're looking for people they can plug in to help win and not just some guys that's going to get up shots. Other teams already got two max guys probably that do all of that for them already. I'm trying to get them to understand: Can you establish yourself in a role that cannot only help us but if it's not with us another team can say, 'Hey, this guy can help us win basketball games.' That's really what I stress to them when it comes to that stuff. I really feel we got overall a really unselfish group. But human nature is what it is, it creeps in."
"These scouts," he continued, "every game, I remember when I was an assistant: It was five scouts talking to me from other teams every game. 'Hey, tell me about this guy. Tell me about this guy. Is he a good guy? Is he a team guy? Does he sacrifice? Is he a pro? Is he late? Is he this?'"
Fizdale understands money will be an important factor, and even if the Knicks are able to shed enough cap space to land a max free agent, he hopes players look at more than the dollar figure on the contract.
"I empathize with these guys and everything they go through. I try to put myself in their shoes all the time. You talking about, it's coming down to you feeding your family, setting yourself up for a multiple-year contract, things like that, how can you not think of that stuff?" Fizdale said. "We all would be in the same position, it's just as much as I possibly can as the head coach is to show them the benefits for you won't come at the level that you expect if you don't do it for the team."