The New York Knicks have once again surprised everyone. However, this time the element of surprise from the Knicks is being reflected in a positive light. After coming into the 2020-21 season with little to no expectations the Knicks were not only able to earn themselves a spot in the playoffs but finished as a top 5 seed in a loaded Eastern Conference.
Knicks fans may be disappointed by an early playoff exit courtesy of All-Star point guard Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks, but they can hang their hat on the fact that brighter days are coming. Those days start with this free agency period, as the Knicks will look to improve a roster that struggled mightily in the playoffs.
Kemba Walker Excited To Play On Same Team With Derrick Rose
All-Star point guard Kemba Walker is scheduled to reach a buyout agreement with the Oklahoma City Thunder after being traded there from the Boston Celtics this summer. Once he clears waivers, Walker intends to sign with his hometown New York Knicks per Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Walker could be positioned in the backcourt with former NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose, but it is more likely that the two guards will have to split the minutes with the NBA beginning to slowly transition out of the small-ball era. Walker says that won’t be an issue for him as Rose is a player, he has a deep respect for.
“He’s a great player, I’m a huge D-Rose fan. Man, I’m a huge, huge Derrick Rose fan, and I’m happy to see him playing,” Walker said of Rose per Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson of Bally Sports Network.
Knicks Reward Derrick Rose With Long Term Deal
Despite Rose suffering a slew of injuries throughout his career, Walker is not the only one who thinks that the Chicago native still has a lot of game left. After having a resurgent season in which Rose averaged 14.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game for the Pistons and Knicks, New York’s front office was not going to risk the prospect of losing him in free agency. Rose was rewarded with a three-year $43 million contract to return to the Knicks next season per ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski.
During their first-round playoff matchup against the Atlanta Hawks, Rose showed that he is still built for the bright lights. In a series where Knicks’ Most Improved Player award winner Julius Randle struggled mightily, Rose was often the only source of offense for the Knicks. In their lone win in the series in Game 2, Rose led all Knicks scorers with 26 points to go along with 4 rebounds and 4 assists. No other Knicks player even hit the 20-point mark in the win.
The Knicks now have a squad that is looking even more formidable after making several free agency moves. Kemba, though undersized compared to other guards is still an offensive threat. Even in what was considered a down year for the Bronx native Walker still averaged 19.3 points per game while shooting 42% from the field.
Adding a threat like Walker and bringing back Rose will be sure to alleviate some of the defensive pressure off of All-Star Julius Randle in crunch time.