Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet could become a free agent target for the New York Knicks.
This shouldn’t come as a big surprise to anyone following the NBA, but the New York Knicks are “expected to emerge as suitors” for impending free agent Fred VanVleet, per The Athletic. Along with the Knicks, the report lists Detroit and Phoenix, besides Toronto, as other teams with potential interest.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN recently speculated that Malcolm Brogdon’s four-year, $85 million contract last summer will set the market for VanVleet this offseason. Of course, a lot has happened since last July, with the NBA currently playing in a bubble without fans as the country attempts to stem the tide of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s unclear how next season’s salary cap will be impacted from lost revenues.
Assuming the previously projected $115 million cap, the Knicks could have close to $50 million in cap space this offseason. New York has several players on team options or non-guaranteed deals that allows them flexibility in building their roster.
The New York Knicks will have plenty of cap space to sign Fred VanVleet.
As a veteran with four years of experience, VanVleet would qualify for a max contract of up to 25% of the cap (~$28.8MM based on $115 million cap).
VanVleet would give the Knicks a much-needed playmaker at the point guard position. After falling to 8th in the NBA Draft Lottery, dreams of drafting LaMelo Ball would require a trade to resuscitate. While several lead guards will still be available later in the lottery, new president Leon Rose and head coach Tom Thibodeau could look for a veteran solution to jumpstart their offense.
The Raptors guard averaged 17.6 points this past season, while dishing out 6.6 assists and grabbing 3.8 rebounds. In the first round sweep of the Brooklyn Nets, VanVleet looked like a star in scoring 21.3 points per game on 52.7% shooting, including an amazing 55.9% from downtown on a high volume of shots (8.5 attempts per game).
Obviously, VanVleet would check off a lot of boxes in filling gaps on the Knicks roster if they were able to sign him.