2. Flexibility for 2020 or 2021 free agency
Looking ahead is prevalent in the NBA. 2019 free agency became a topic just weeks into last season, with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard‘s respective statuses discussed. This lingered no matter how well their teams played and hovered over Leonard’s title run with the Toronto Raptors.
Well, with the New York Knicks’ 2019 offseason, they set themselves up for future free-agent periods with the contracts they gave out.
All contracts handed out in free agency, besides Randle’s, can leave the books after the 2019-20 season. Whether for team options or minuscule partial guarantees (Marcus Morris has no 2020-21 contractual commitment), the Knicks may remove them from the payroll for little cost in 2020. If not then, the Knicks can let them all walk after 2021, including Randle, and become players in another star-studded free agency.
There are still too many games to play out before free agency becomes a conversation, and 2020 has a weaker class than 2019, so this may pause the superstar chasing until July 2021, when all of these salaries can or will expire.
For now, the Knicks have their team of now to focus on and try to appeal to future players to want to play at Madison Square Garden, rather than their crosstown rivals. Once they produce a quality on-court product, then the future can receive a bigger spotlight.