Frank Isola: The Knicks want to he re-sign free agents …

Frank Isola: The Knicks want to he re-sign free agents Lance Thomas and Langston Galloway, two hard working role players & high character guys.

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That number would jump to $35 million if the club renounced all of its free agents, including guard Langston Galloway and forward Lance Thomas. The guess here, though, is that both Galloway and Thomas will be back. But the Knicks likely will have competition for both players. The Thunder, Nets and Mavericks are among the teams who are expected to have interest in the 28-year-old Thomas, sources say.
Industry sources believe Thomas can triple his salary and get a mid-level-range contract, perhaps starting at $4.5 million. The Knicks, if they exercise a cap hold of $2 million, can make a competitive offer because they hold Thomas’ early Bird rights. “I love New York,” Thomas said. “I really don’t know what’s going to happen, to be honest. I love New York, I’m from the area. If it works out that way, I’d love to come back.”
Still, Thomas’ season ended morosely. He re-injured his left knee during a non-contact pregame warmup drill in Denver on March 8 and missed the rest of the season. According to a source, Thomas inflamed a nerve inside the knee — a different injury than his knee sprain from late January. Thomas said he would’ve been ready to return had the Knicks made the playoffs. A source said signing with a playoff contender also will be a factor for Thomas now that he finally may have choices.
Giving up his other 2015 signees Arron Afflalo and bench sparkplug Derrick Williams, though, is unlikely. Despite their recent slumps, the Knicks consider Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams as revelations, part of the core and prefer they don’t opt out. Robin Lopez and Lance Thomas are also part of the inner circle.
For now, NBA coaches are talking up Thomas more than the media and fans. Thomas signed this offseason for a little more than the minimum — a one-year, $1.5 million deal. But come July 1, when Thomas becomes a free agent again, the fans may become disappointed when Knicks president Phil Jackson is unable to re-sign him because of his growing price tag. The Brooklyn-born Duke product is shooting an excellent 47.7 percent — 41.6 from 3-point range – and averaging 8.7 points per game. Until this season, Thomas never had a 3-point shot, attempting 22 in his first four seasons. He’s already taken 77 this season and it’s mid-January. It would seem that vague Most Improved Player Award is meant for the kind of season Thomas is weaving.
Storyline: Lance Thomas Free Agency
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April 18, 2021 | 6:45 pm EDT Update