The New York Knicks are finding success in an offseason without signing any superstars.
No, the New York Knicks did not land the star, Kevin Durant, or add another All-Star level player, and they deserve the criticism talking about the importance of this summer and the ability to change the franchise culture; but what is forgotten is what happened after missing on Durant that is not talked about enough. The Knicks went on to add Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis, Wayne Ellington, Reggie Bullock and Elfrid Payton, none of whom on long contracts that cannot be moved.
The Knicks did something right: they did not react to what other teams did or try to compete with their crosstown rivals, the Brooklyn Nets. Remember what the Knicks did the last time the Nets added marquee players, in the Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett trade? They reacted by trading a first-round pick to acquire Andrea Bargnani, and we know how that worked out.
This knee-jerk reaction or the Knick response would have been to potentially give Terry Rozier a max deal and paired him with some signing like Jimmy Butler or Tobias Harris. Clearly, that would have set the Knicks back another 3-5 years. Fans should be excited that the Knicks front office is showing signs of growth and patients. They clearly had a back-up plan and they did not wait once they knew Durant’s decision.
The moves the Knicks made so far just fit so well with their direction, and the future is bright, but the fans have to be patient. Randle was given a three-year contract, but the other five have two-year deals, with all being team options in the second season, making them easy to move at the deadline.
The Ellington and Bullock signings fit with the direction of the league; teams need shooting and floor spacers to be successful. Both players average over 38 percent from the three-point line in their career.
The trio of Randle, Gibson and Portis give the Knicks toughness and versatile scorers at the two big positions. It also gives them depth as Robinson was the only big on the current roster. Adding Payton was also important after letting Mudiay walk in free agency, it provides them the depth they need with Dennis Smith Jr, their only traditional point guard on the roster. Could it also point to the Knicks moving on from Frank Ntilikina?
These moves give the Knicks flexibility to be more competitive this year and have cap space for future runs at other star free agents. This influx of talent will also help the growth of Knox, Robinson and RJ Barrett. The Knicks needed to add more talent to this roster just to put out a more respectable product on the court. The organization is definitely learning from what happened this summer. The Nets were considered the better destination because of what they have done the last 3-4 years, building that team from scratch, which culminated to a playoff appearance last year. That is one of the big reasons Durant and Irving chose to go there.
Durant signing elsewhere is disappointing, but fans should be happy at how the Knicks reacted and the direction of the team. This maturity will resonate with stars around the league, and when they become free agents the Knicks could be their destination of choice, fans will remember this summer as a turning point for this franchise.