The short-term deals the Knicks handed out after missing their top targets in free agency could lead to another disastrous season in New York, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Once the elite free agents were all off the board, the Knicks’ front office signed six players in a 24-hour span, mostly to one-year contracts. Coach David Fizdale has nine new players on his roster, creating a challenging environment to keep everyone invested in the team.
“The worry is chemistry issues and clashing as well as a rotation that will be tough to keep all happy,’’ a rival executive told Berman. “It could turn into every-man-for-himself – self preservation on full display.’’
The Knicks’ best hope to improve lies in their young core, Berman adds. Newly signed Julius Randle, who committed for three years at $63MM, is only 24, while Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Dennis Smith Jr. and rookie RJ Barrett all have the potential to improve. But if none of them can make the leap this year and Kristaps Porzingis revives his career in Dallas, Berman speculates that another front office shakeup could be on the way.
There’s more this morning from New York:
- The starting point guard job is wide open again this year, Berman notes in a separate story. Smith will compete with Frank Ntilikina and newly signed Elfrid Payton in what Berman calls the best position battle in camp. The Knicks seemed to make a commitment to Smith after acquiring him in the Porzingis deal, but may have signaled a new direction by giving $8MM to Payton.
- Kenny Wooten will be among the most intriguing players to watch in camp, Berman adds. All 15 roster spots appear set, but New York has an open two-way slot that Wooten will have a chance to claim. He is an athletic shot-blocker on an Exhibit 10 deal who could set himself up for a standard contract down the line.
- Lance Thomas has moved across town to the Nets, but he would have been happy to remain a Knick, relays Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “It was a dream come true for me,” Thomas said. “My family is Knicks fans their whole lives. The opportunity I had to wear that uniform, to play in an arena of that magnitude — I had goosebumps every day I wore that uniform.”