The Kenny Payne effect in New York is going to create plenty of headlines similar to this one.
According to Marc Berman of The NY Post, former Kentucky Wildcat and upcoming NBA free agent Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is reportedly being considered by the New York Knicks as a “reclamation project” pickup once teams are allowed to sign new players. Kidd-Gilchrist, who was the No. 2 overall pick back in 2012, was waived by the Charlotte Hornets back in February after spending his first seven full seasons with the organization. He was eventually picked up by the Dallas Mavericks and finished off the year with them down in the Orlando Bubble.
— Knicks Film School (@KnickSchool) November 6, 2020
Kidd-Gilchrist isn’t exactly going to be considered a “hot commodity” on the open market once free agency does begin (which is expected to begin sometime shortly after the Nov. 18 NBA Draft), but his connection to the Knicks makes sense from a front-office standpoint. Not only is recently hired assistant coach and one-time Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne now a member of the Knicks coaching staff, but Knicks senior VP William “World Wide Wes” Wesley is also close to the Kentucky program while Knicks newly appointed President Leon Rose is friends with John Calipari.
During his 2019-20 campaign, the 27-year-old MKG saw his role completely vanish with the Hornets, posting career-lows in several categories in just 12 games before being waived. With the Mavs, he appeared in another 13 regular season outings plus six more in the playoffs. However, he was minimally effective as a defensive-minded forward who has still yet to develop a dependable jump shot.
Kidd-Gilchrist’s value in free agency will likely be that of the league minimum, which should be in the $2 million-plus range over the course of the next year or two. According to Berman, the Knicks would potentially like to bring him on board to provide a solid locker room presence.