When free agency began on Friday, the New York Knicks showed clear interest in many players. However, the Knicks were hesitant to pull the plug on multiple that would undoubtedly make a big impact in New York. Here, we’re going to dive into why they weren’t very decisive about certain players.
Fred VanVleet is a Raptors point guard who seemed open to leaving Toronto. Coming off an impressive season in Toronto where he averaged 17 points with 6 assists. The Knicks assumed he could be a great fit in New York, and VanVleet seemed interested in signing. However, shortly before free agency began, the Raptors guard was quoted saying this: “I’m trying to get paid, man. I don’t have to tell people that I value winning. Look at my story. …I won a championship. And now it’s time to cash out”.
However, the New York Knicks weren’t ready to offer a 25 million dollar contract to a player who wasn’t even a top tier free agent. Despite having about 40 million dollars worth in cap space, it felt too risky to bet so much money on a guard who hasn’t proved themself to be a leader on the court.
Coming into free agency, the New York Knicks’ priorities were clear. Both a point guard and a small forward would be necessary if they wanted to flirt with the playoffs. Gordon Hayward, small forward for the Boston Celtics seemed like a potential option. Head coach Tom Thibodeau had been known as a huge admirer of the small forward, and the Knicks seemed to be in an aggressive pursuit for him.
New York offered Hayward a contract, however, there was an important clause the Celtic player needed to adjust. Hayward was looking to sign a contract for around four years, while Leon Rose only wanted him on a two to a three-year contract. Leon Rose knew the risks of keeping an aging player on a long-term contract. The Charlotte Hornets recognized how hesitant the Knicks were, and swooped in by offering four years and $120 million. New York clearly couldn’t compete with this offer, and Gordon Hayward signed with Charlotte.
Just now, it’s been revealed that the Knicks offered a fourth year but Charlotte offered more money.
Power forward for the Pistons seemed like a great fit in New York. With the possibilities of Julius Randle getting traded, Wood could fit right in to create an interesting duo between himself and Mitchell Robinson. However, when Obi Toppin fell to the 8th pick in the draft, the Knicks’ need for a power forward vanished. New York is hoping to give Toppin as much playing time as possible in his rookie season, and having Christian Wood would make this difficult. If however, the Knicks had drafted someone else, Wood could have been one of Leon Rose’s main targets.
Although a significant amount of the free agents that the Knicks pursued early on have signed contracts with different teams, there’s still time for Leon Rose to sign a big player before the season starts.