Knicks hold onto multiple veterans
The New York Knicks plan during free agency in 2019 was adjusted almost right away. They had high hopes of winning the lottery to select Zion Williamson and then signing two max free agents, such as Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. None of that happened.
New York fell to No. 3 in the NBA Draft Lottery, landing Williamson’s Duke teammate, RJ Barrett. They signed no max free agents and instead they signed Julius Randle to a multi-year deal and then a bunch of 1-and-1 deals. Essentially, Randle was the only player signed who has guaranteed money beyond this season.
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New York sign Elfrid Payton, Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis, Wayne Ellington and Reggie Bullock to deals with team options for 2020-21. That made them decent trade chips, as teams looking to add a veteran presence without a long-term commitment. Unfortunately, Morris ended up being the only veteran traded.
However, owner James Dolan has always wanted a winning team, and with Mike Miller as head coach, this is the closest he has had to a winning team in years.
New York is suddenly only five games out of a playoff spot currently in the Eastern Conference. They have the seventh-most wins in the Eastern Conference since Miller took over as head coach. Some of the veterans, specifically Ellington and Bullock, have helped get the team back into the playoff picture.
There were some missed opportunities here to add more assets. 3-point shooters such as Ellington and Bullock could have probably been dealt for future second-round picks. Portis received some interest as well.
Seeing the Knicks turn competitive is nice, but it is coming at the expense of the young guys more often than not. New York is toeing a fine line relying so heavily on veterans that may not be with the team next season at the expense of developing young players, something they have struggled with mightily in recent years.