With free agency cooled down for the New York Knicks, what can they expect from each of their free agent signings?
Free agency did not start as expected for the New York Knicks, missing out on the top available players, including Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Instead, they signed six players to fill all but one of their roster spots.
These signings will contribute towards the 2019-20 team and potentially beyond, pending their team options in 2020-21 — for everyone but Randle — are exercised.
These players have yet to suit up for the Knicks, and will not until October, but the early expectations for how they will perform can begin now.
Elfrid Payton: The starting point guard
The latest signing for the New York Knicks, Elfrid Payton joined on a two-year, $16 million contract. He joins a point guard rotation with more questions than answers, making this the potential starter for opening night.
According to SNY’s Ian Begley, Payton will have “every opportunity” to win the job. He has started 295 of a possible 342 games in his career with the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Pelicans.
The Louisiana at Lafayette product’s main competition, Dennis Smith Jr., flashed briefly after he arrived via trade from the Dallas Mavericks, but inconsistent shooting and a back injury deterred him down the stretch.
Payton might not lock down most of the point guard minutes; he only averaged above 30 minutes per game just once, with shooting as a reason for his limited on-court time. That could be an issue again, but Smith and even Frank Ntilikina — if he factors into the point guard rotation — are not strong shooters, either.
So this could be Payton’s job to lose as a solid defender and distributor, placing him ahead of New York’s current pack. The Knicks have every reason to turn to other options after a disastrous 17-65 season, so even if he is used to motivate the younger point guards, the fit makes sense.