The Knicks had a fairly strong offseason. They signed Evan Fournier to a four-year, $78 million deal, and while that may be a bit of an overpay he brings needed 3-point shooting (41.3% last season), secondary shot creation, and he averaged 17.1 points a game last season. New York got a steal in getting Kemba Walker (*knock on wood his knees hold up*), brought back Derrick Rose, plus Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks each got three-year contracts. New York got better.
But they could have gone a lot of other directions, the Knicks had the cap space and would have gone big game hunting if more big game had been available. One player they seriously considered going after was DeMar DeRozan, reports Marc Berman of the New York Post.
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.
Perry and the Knicks made the right call. While DeRozan brings buckets and shot creation — 21.6 points and 6.9 assists per game — he doesn’t space the floor as a shooter and, at age 32, decline is a bigger risk than with Fournier. Plus, the Knicks may have overpaid a little for Fournier (although that is around the going rate for starting wings), but the Bulls overpaid a lot more for DeRozan.
The Knicks’ new management, led by former super agent Leon Rose, has made largely smart decisions since taking over. It’s been a bit conservative, not going all-in for the quick fix, but that is the smart play. New York got better this offseason, the problem is that might not show up on the standings — in a deeper East it’s unlikely the Knicks finish with the No. 4 seed again. They should be a better playoff team, but whether that will be enough is a question not answered until the Spring.