The 3 value contracts that are fueling the New York Knicks' terrific season

New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers
New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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In an era of the NBA where it feels like teams are constantly overpaying in free agency, no front office has consistently gotten more bang for their buck than the New York Knicks. Everyone knows about the Jalen Brunson contract that has aged like fine wine, as well as the Julius Randle extension that locked in the All-Star at well below market value.

However, the rest of the NBA community may not realize just how smart the Knicks have been with their spending over the past few seasons. Gone are the days of New York sitting around waiting for stars to fall into their laps, or throwing money at any problem hoping that will be the solution.

The Knicks two best players are not the only players on the roster vastly outperforming the contracts they signed for. Below is a look at some of the great contracts that have set up the Knicks for sustained success.

3) Donte DiVincenzo

After winning their first playoff series in over a decade last season, Knicks fans could be forgiven for expecting a big offseason splash. Many felt as though now was the time to cash in all of their assets for a Star, whether that was Donovan Mitchell or another player of that caliber.

When the Knicks lone offseason move ended up signing Donte DiVincenzo to a 4 year / $46,870,000 contract, fully embracing the “Villanova Knicks” identity, a large portion of the fanbase felt disappointed. There was no doubt that Donte was a solid NBA player, but with the plethora of young guards the Knicks already had on the roster, the move felt a bit redundant. Longtime Knicks reporter Marc Berman posted the following tweet the day of the signing:

“Donte DiVincenzo has averaged 54 games in his five seasons. Obi Toppin is more durable and possibly more valuable as a backup PF than another shooting guard. With no first-round picks to cultivate from the last 2 drafts, the Knicks may have gotten worse.”

While Berman did not echo the feelings of the entire fanbase, there was a large portion that agreed with his analysis. Now, not even a full season into his deal, Donte has not only become an indispensable part of the Knicks present and future, but also something that not even his biggest fans could have anticipated. A record breaker.

In Monday’s win over the Pistons, Donte posted 40 points, making 11 three-pointers in the process, breaking the Knicks previous franchise record of 10. He has also already made 234 three’s this season, and is on pace to shatter Evan Fournier’s single-season record of 241.

For context, Donte’s previous high for three’s in a season came last year with the Warriors, when he made 150. At his current pace, he will nearly double that total while remaining incredibly efficient, shooting 40% from downtown this season.

While Donte has rightfully earned a reputation this season as a sharpshooter, he is much more than that. When Julius Randle (and OG Anunoby) went down in late January, a big question hovered around the Knicks. Outside of Jalen Brunson, where was the offense going to come from? 

Well, as you probably could have guessed by now, Donte stepped up. Since the game Randle was injured, Donte has averaged 21.2 ppg, nearly double his career average of 10.3. Donte has been as important as anyone in keeping the Knicks afloat since those injuries. His shooting, defensive prowess, and toughness make him a natural fit to play under coach Tom Thibodeau.

While on the court, he has exceeded all expectations. Part of what makes Donte so valuable is his contract. Over the next three seasons, he will never earn more than $13 million in a season, and will only exceed $12 million in the final year of his deal. For context, this season, he takes up exactly 8% of the Knicks total cap, and is the 32nd highest-paid shooting guard in the league. 

Still just 27 years old, Donte fits perfectly into the Knicks timeline. With a core of players mostly in their late 20s, the Knicks have a clear window of contention in the Eastern Conference over the next few seasons, and Donte is set to be a huge part of that.