The New York Knicks were for a long time the laughing stock of the NBA. At the end of the 2020 season, the Knicks were a lottery team as the team had a dismal record of 21-45 and missed the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season.
This year is a lot different though. First-year head coach Tom Thibodeau has this year’s Knicks squad playing out of their minds. The team has already nearly doubled their win total from last season with a record of 35-28. They are currently 4th place in the Eastern Conference.
Their latest success has once again made the Knicks an attractive free-agent destination according to a recent New York Times report.
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Knicks Starting To Become a Hot Free Agency Destination
Whenever the Knicks play well the basketball world will start to take notice. According to a recent report from Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Knicks 2021 resurgence has made upcoming free agents consider the Knicks as a potential destination.
“There have been whispers for weeks that the Knicks’ flirtation with the East’s No. 4 seed has helped restore their reputation to the point that star players are finally prepared to consider them a destination franchise again,” Stein writes.
The Knicks could not have picked a more perfect time to become relevant again. The 2021 NBA free agency class is loaded with superstar talent, headlined by 2019 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Kawhi Leonard. Other notable names include Spencer Dinwiddie, Serge Ibaka, and All-Star DeMar DeRozan.
A plethora of options to put with their All-Star and Most Improved Player award candidate Julius Randle.
“If that proves true, they will have multiple pathways to address the concerns you raised, whether it’s by trying to sign a savvy former All-Star like Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan on a short-term deal as a bridge to free-agent classes more star-laden than this summer’s, or by using future draft picks (perhaps packaged with Toppin) to construct a meaningful trade.”
Knicks & Nets Could Be In a Tug of War for Free Agents
The Knicks have not had a legit superstar playing in ‘The Garden’ since Carmelo Anthony was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017. Despite the attractiveness of New York City, the Knicks losing streak has turned off free agents from wanting to come to play in front of the Madison Square Garden crowd.
In recent years’ stars such as Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Kevin Durant have opted to come to play for the Nets as they have had more success than the Knicks in recent years. The Nets and Knicks could find themselves in a more competitive free-agent tug of war this coming summer as the Nets could be in the markets to sign another big-name star.
Brooklyn Nets young star Spencer Dinwiddie is expected to hit the free-agent market this summer. Dinwiddie suffered a partially torn ACL at the beginning of the season. The injury had both literally and figuratively hurt Dinwiddie this year.
Dinwiddie had a breakout season for the Nets in 2019 and even garnered some consideration for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. He averaged a career-high 20.6 points per game to go along with 3.5 rebounds and 6.8 assists. After a successful 2019-20 campaign Dinwiddie was expected to be an important piece for this year’s Nets as they were expecting him to take the next step. Dinwiddie was even named starter over Caris LeVert before the James Harden trade.
Being out for the entire 2020-21 season has robbed Dinwiddie of the opportunity to prove that last season wasn’t just a fluke. That could affect the Nets’ front office’s willingness to offer him a long-term deal and pursue other free agents this summer.