The Knicks seemed to have their eyes on a few different names during this summer’s free agency.
New York was linked to numerous big-name free agents this offseason and ultimately came away with new additions Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier on top of re-signing familiar faces Derrick Rose, Nerlens Noel, and Alec Burks.
Knicks Rumors: Was there interest in DeMar DeRozan?
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks considered DeRozan as a potential option.
“Turns out, according to two NBA sources, [Knicks GM Scott] Perry was leaning toward a bolder pursuit, that of San Antonio standout swingman DeMar DeRozan. He made the All-Star Game his last three seasons in Toronto before being traded to the Spurs in 2018. DeRozan, though, would have cost more per season. According to the sources, DeRozan had sincere interest in the Knicks, but instead ended up with a generous deal in Chicago – a three-year, $85 million package. The Knicks inked Fournier for four years, $78 million (with bonuses) while retaining a team option for the final season.”
With all of the big names that were rumored and discussed as potential Knicks targets before free agency began, we now know that DeRozan was one of the names given the strongest consideration.
Ultimately, many would agree that New York made the right move in passing up on DeRozan.
DeRozan is still a high-level player. He’s a hub of offense as both a mid-range scorer and playmaker who is tremendous with the ball in his hands.
For a team like New York, there really wasn’t a terrific fit both in terms of price tag and DeRozan’s fit with the offense.
DeRozan gets too much criticism for not being a 3-point shooter. When he plays with an effective backcourt like he did in San Antonio and will soon be playing with in Chicago, he can thrive.
On a team like the Knicks, who will continue to have Julius Randle as a centerpiece of the offense, it doesn’t make sense for the team’s floor spacing and offensive dynamic.
Here was a great video from early in the year by Kyle J. Mann of the Ringer detailing Julius Randle’s breakout with his newfound floor spacing.
It’s hard to see how DeRozan’s presence would have a significant positive impact for NY. His defenders could frequently sag off, help clog the paint and make life extremely difficult for New York just as it was in their playoff series with the Atlanta Hawks.
That’s not to mention DeRozan costing the Bulls a future 1st round pick, two 2nd round picks, and an annual cap hit of just over 28 million per year over 3 years. The Knicks would have gotten torched by the media had they made that deal.
For the Bulls, the signing makes more sense than it would for NY. They are trying to throw together a playoff team to ensure that Zach LaVine stays in Chicago, and their offseason moves reflected a “compete now” mindset. On top of their backcourt, they have a center in Nikola Vucevic who can move around the perimeter. It’s a pretty drastically different personnel from New York’s.
We have seen the Leon Rose-led front office be quite cautious in their first year in charge of the Knicks. Signing the sharpshooting Evan Fournier to a 3+1 contract at about 8 million less per year than DeRozan was the right decision.