Going in to the free agency window this summer, there was a buzz of excitement and anticipation surrounding the New York Knicks. But yet again, the team failed to deliver. Yet again, the tradition of the Knicks trying and failing to land elite free agents was on show.
Knicks President Issues Statement
In fact, things got so bad that Steve Mills himself had to issue the following statement:
Statement from Knicks president Steve Mills: pic.twitter.com/2GnBHHmvT6
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 1, 2019
In their failed quest to clear cap space for two max contracts, the Knicks traded out young prodigy Kristaps Porzingis. They hoped that this clear-out would help them land Kevin Durant and even possibly Kyrie Iriving. But instead, here we are, with Knicks not having any of the three star level players.
Still Hope for Knicks
However, there is still some hope for the Knicks fans. Because this year, the Knicks did not undergo a total implosion- they actually made a few smart moves in the free transfer window that will put them in a better position come the anticipated free agency of 2021.
When they missed out on two massive targets in Durant and Irving, instead of going for the next biggest available free agents, the Knicks instead chose to offer short deals to mid level rotation players. Bobby Portis was brought in for 2 years on $31 million, Reggie Bullock for 2 years and $21 million, Taj Gibson for 2 years and $20 million, and both Wayne Ellington and Elfrid Payton for two years and $16 million each. And every one of these contracts has a team option for the second year.
The only player they signed on a deal longer than two years was Julius Randle, who signed for 3 years and $63 million. Again, the last year has a team option.
These are some smart moves from the Knicks- if these signings work out, all well and good. And if they don’t, they offer the franchise with a lot of flexibility going into the next two summers.
Knicks to be the winner in Free Agency 2021
The team’s progression plays a big role as well. This summer, the Knicks were asking league stars to come and play with inexperienced second and third year players, and even a rookie of 19 years.
In a couple more years though, that will be different. Stars like Rudy Gobert, Bradley Beal and even Giannis Antetokounmpo could be lured in to play alongside players with at least three years of NBA experience.
Right now, all we can say is that the Knicks have made some shrewd moves and have a potential of changing their traditions and actually having a fruitful free agency window in 2021. Whether they follow through, remains to be seen.