Connect with us

Free Agency

Knicks Offseason: Uncovering the Future Plan of the New York Knicks


The New York Knicks’ offseason in 2023 has been characterized by a patient and measured approach from the front office led by Leon Rose. While fans are hoping for a superstar, the Knicks have opted for prudent spending and value contracts.

In this article, we review the offseason moves made so far. We attempt to look through the haze and identify the true strategy of the Knicks front office.

It’s possible the Knicks are not done yet this offseason. We assess the likely outcomes, potential moves to come and the future plan for the New York Knicks.

Notable Knicks 2023 Offseason Moves So Far

The 2023 Knicks offseason is off to a slow start. Many fans had hoped to see the front office share some of the assets they have been gathering, in exchange for a superstar calibre player – Damian Lillard or James Harden.

This has not been the case for New York. Leon Rose and the Knicks front office have continued their patient approach this Knicks offseason. While we are seeing mega, $260 million contracts being distributed throughout the league, New York have opted for prudent spending and value contracts.

In April 2023, Leon Rose addressed the media, he reiterated the Knicks would not be pressured to sign a star. Rose said, they want to be opportunistic, but “we want to show patience.” The early stages of this Knicks offseason have proven Rose was serious.

The moves made by the Knicks so far have only marginally improved the roster, arguably worsened the level of talent, but they have maintained flexibility for moves down the road.

Here are the Knicks offseason moves so far in 2023.

Obi Toppin Traded to Pacers

Obi Toppin has been traded to the Indiana Pacers for two second round picks, per Adrian Wojnarowski.

The former 8th overall pick in the 2020 draft was never able to fully realize his potential in New York. Moving Toppin to Indiana will give him an opportunity to play.

For New York, given the measly return in the deal, is likely to avoid rotation complications in the short-term, and ultimately avoid paying him an extension. Toppin was not a part of the Knicks future plans. With this in mind, the front office direction may have been to avoid any potential locker room issues as a result of his limited playing time.

Knicks Sign DiVincenzo to 4yrs $50 Million

Per Tim Bontemps of ESPN, the Knicks have agreed to sign Donte DiVincenzo to a 4 year, $50 million deal.

New York has now collected three of the Villanova 2018 Championship team key players. Two more and we get a free Latte with any purchase from Starbucks.

In all seriousness, the Knicks have acquired a talented shooter and defensive talent. Talents that are clearly coveted by Tom Thibodeau and this current New York Knicks regime.

DiVincenzo will bolster the Knicks second unit. He gives the Knicks quality 3-point shooting and is among the leagues best stealing the ball.

Now, the elephant in the room, he is one of six guards on the Knicks roster that are worthy of minutes. Last season we saw the Knicks have success with a 9-man rotation. With the depth of talent at guard, we will need to see some unique small ball lineups and an expanded rotation.

Even with these concerns, New York has added a talented guard, that will fit in this system and on a quality contract.

Josh Hart Opts in $12.9 Million Player Option

We previously talked about Hart’s looming contract situation. Admittedly, Hart signing the player option was a little unexpected. The sentiment around the league suggested Josh Hart would sign an extension, fully guaranteed around $18-$20 million per season.

Hart opted into his player option at $12.9 million for the 2023-24 season.

For Josh Hart, he can extend his contract off the back of this deal, per Tim Bontemps.

For New York, it gives them additional flexibility this Knicks offseason, with the ability to use the full mid-level exception to sign another player in free agency.

Knicks Decline Derrick Rose’s Team Option, Signs with Grizzlies

It’s a somber feeling seeing Derrick Rose leave New York. The Knicks declined his team option, and Rose will sign with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Rose was a leader in the locker room and a big part of the rebuilding process for New York.

Whilst the Knicks were unable to give Rose consistent playing time, he will find that in Memphis. Tyus Jones is now in Washington, and Ja Morant suspended due to ongoing off-court drama – Memphis are in desperate need of guard depth.

Knicks Offseason Moves Still to Come for the Knicks

While the Knicks offseason has been slow-moving, it’s hard not to appreciate the patience of Leon Rose and this front office.

Historically, New York has been synonymous with mismanagement, reactionary player signings and overpaying talent. We have not seen this from Rose. He remains unhurried and unfazed in the face of die hard Knick fans pleading for a star.

Rose is looking ahead to 2024 and beyond. Whilst difficult to see now, the New York management has been measured and thoughtful in their dealings so far. They look poised to pounce on a major opportunity in the near future.

Back to the 2023 Knicks offseason. We likely won’t see any groundbreaking dealings this year. If anything, we will see moves that stabilize the current roster and keep it flexible to capitalize on free agent opportunities in 2024.

Here are some moves we might see to round out this offseason.

Trading Evan Fournier

Evan Fournier is due a guaranteed $18,857,143 in the 2023-24 season. A hefty fee for a player that will unlikely see the court next season. With a plethora of options at guard and his defensive deficiencies, Fournier is not a good fit for this Knicks roster.

Having said that, Fournier is still a talented scorer heading into the prime of his career.

Evan Fournier has been a tremendous professional during his benching during the 2022-23 season. He has requested a trade and the Knicks are searching for a potential suitor. This is a deal that both sides are eager to get done.

Fournier does not want to ride the bench again for another season, and for New York, they want to move his guaranteed 2023-24 salary. Trade suitors are hard to come by with his salary right now, and this will probably take a first round pick, or will need to be included in a larger deal.

If the Knicks are unable to get a deal done, they will need to eat his 2023-24 salary and decline his team option ahead of the 2024-25 season.

Sign a Backup Power Forward to Replace Obi Toppin

With Obi Toppin on the move to Indiana, the Knicks are lean at the Power Forward position. Since they have the ability to sign another player via the mid-level exception, we should see another move to fill the backup PF need.

There have been many names linked to New York, including:

Outside these names, should the Knicks roster remain unchanged for the remainder of the offseason, Isaiah Roby, Jericho Sims or Isaiah Hartenstein have been the favorites to take the backup PF minutes.

What’s the Knicks Plan for the 2024 Offseason and Beyond?

Dating back to March 2nd, 2020, the beginning of Leon Rose’s tenure, the New York Knicks have remained dedicated to the development of their youth and building through the draft. They have remained prudent financially, avoiding potentially hemorrhaging contracts that limit the teams flexibility to make key free agency decisions.

In a world where LaMelo Ball and Tyrese Haliburton received max $260 million contracts, Fred VanVleet receives $130 million for 3 years, and Paul George asks for a $220 million extension, despite limited on-court availability, this Knicks front office have avoided disastrous mistakes.

New York Knicks Big Contracts

In contrast to rest of the league, the Knicks have made solid financial decisions that have limited team downside.

The biggest contracts on the Knicks roster right now include:

  1. Julius Randle – 4 yrs / $117 million, $107 guaranteed
  2. RJ Barrett – 4 yrs / $107 million, fully guaranteed plus incentives for All NBA, All-Star or All-Defense
  3. Jalen Brunson – 4 yrs / $104 million, fully guaranteed
  4. Mitchell Robinson – 4 yrs / $60 million, fully guaranteed

Per, Spotrac.

With no contract greater than $117 million for 4 years, New York have limited their downside compared to teams around the league. Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson have already outperformed their contract value, while Barrett and Robinson are young talents with the possibility to improve.

Should the situation sour and the Knicks require a trade, these are movable contracts. Neither the years, nor the contract values, are significant enough to damage the teams future plans.

Next Free Agency and Offseason Moves for the New York Knicks

New York has balked at some of the asking prices for stars around the league. Most notably, the Clippers wanted RJ Barrett, Quentin Grimes, Evan Fournier, three first round picks for Paul George, per Christian Arnold from the NY Post.

To top it off, George wants a $220 million extension.

Given the Knicks willingness to pass on deals of this nature. It creates the question, what are you planning to do with your war chest of assets?

Fred Katz of The Athletic reported that the Knicks are in search of ‘Prime-aged Veterans’ following the signing of Donte DiVincenzo. With this in mind, the New York Knicks seem to be maintaining financial flexibility and assets to make a major splash.

This sets the stage for the Knicks offseason in 2024…

The Knicks have been monitoring the Giannis Antetokounmpo’s situation in Milwaukee. They have also been linked to Joel Embiid. These are two franchise altering talents that will require a significant combination of young players and picks to get a deal done.

While this is a tall task to lure a player of this magnitude, the Knicks will be in a position to have a chance. They will not cripple themselves financially. They will have the assets to offer the best deal. The Knicks on-court success will make them a quality destination for top-tier talent.

Continue Reading