Additions: RJ Barrett, Wayne Ellington, Taj Gibson, Elfrid Payton, Julius Randle, Reggie Bullock, Bobby Portis, Marcus Morris
Departures: DeAndre Jordan, Emmanuel Mudiay, Noah Vonleh, Mario Hezonja, Luke Kornet
After missing out on the Zion sweepstakes and the chance to sign a big-name free agent this past summer, the New York Knicks are in a predicament. It seems the allure of playing for the most valuable basketball franchise in the captivating Madison Square Garden in the most booming city in the country has lost a bit of its luster due to the endless dysfunction of the franchise. To sum up the 2019-20 campaign for the Knicks, it will be another season with elite talent deficiency and likely not a playoff berth. The Knicks will now need to look forward to future free agencies to sign premium talent to join newcomer RJ Barrett, promising Kevin Knox, and the young core currently on the team.
The Knicks’ NYC counterpart, the Brooklyn Nets, stole the show this past free agency, throwing the Knicks under the water by signing coveted free agents Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, along with former Knick Deandre Jordan. With a promising core, head coach, and organized management, the Nets are the talk of the town, and plan to be in the next few upcoming seasons as well. This is very bad news for the Knicks, who have had a stronger reputation in America’s largest city, and was possibly expecting KD and Kyrie to join them instead of their arch-rival from the same city.
After failing to make big splash signings with the immense cap room they had, the Knicks had to settle for signing a bevy of forwards to accompany the 2019 third overall draft pick RJ Barrett and the 2018 draft pick Kevin Knox. The Knicks essentially tore down their roster from last season and reassembled a new one with the acquisitions they could get based on the market. With the signings of forwards Marcus Morris, Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis, and Julius Randle, along with the additions of guards Wayne Ellington, Elfrid Payton, and Reggie Bullock, the Knicks bring in serviceable players. They may not have signed a supermax player, but they have brought in proven veterans who can provide decent minutes, leadership to younger players, and hopefully not an abysmal record this season.
Though they did lose DeAndre Jordan and Emmanuel Mudiay amidst their offseason roster overhaul, several key returns such as Dennis Smith and Frank Ntilikana should assist in the backcourt.
Despite throwing together a bunch of possibly mismatched parts in hopes of assembling a well-oiled machine, the chemistry between this team can obviously develop, though it may take a significant amount of time. Though it’s head-scratching that the Knicks have signed so many forwards, they do have talent on their roster. However, the fact that their roster has been nearly torn down and restructured from head to toe with no clear-cut plan to improve shows the disarray within the franchise.
With all the glamour this team represents, James Dolan and his Knicks are in a dysfunctional state in terms of management and team vision. Because it’s harder to find another label, the Knicks are in rebuilding. Their signings reflect bringing in a collection of players who otherwise may be signed as second unit players on other teams. Like much of the decade, the Knicks are not in playoff contention, but should focus on developing their recent draft picks. With no bona fide star, the Knicks are sinking in reputation and dazzle with every year in recent memory, and soon they may be an afterthought in their own city despite their mighty presence off the court.