The NBA offseason is officially underway, with the free agency market open as of Monday night, and the New York Knicks have been the league’s most active team.
Leon Rose and the front office kicked things off by re-signing both sixth man Alec Burks to a three-year deal for $30-million, and big man Nerlens Noel to a three-year deal for $32-million.
New York wanted to bring a sense of continuity to next season, given that team chemistry played such a large role in their rise to a legitimate playoff team in the Eastern Conference.
But as much as free agency is about what players your team can acquire, there’s also the added element of not being able to afford players you want to keep.
That’s rarely been as true for the Knicks as it is today, with the team’s chemistry one of the primary catalysts behind their return to the playoffs last season.
New York took the first hit on Monday night when they lost a starter to one of their few, true NBA rivals.
Bullock Signs in Dallas
After two years and 94 games with the New York Knicks, veteran wing Reggie Bullock is moving on this summer.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Monday that he’s signing a three-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks:
He joins join Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Trey Burke as former Knicks players employed in Dallas.
Once dubbed the team’s “unsung hero” by head coach Tom Thibodeau, Bullock averaged 10.9 points per game last season and knocked down 41% of his 6.1 attempts nightly from behind the arc.
His defense will be missed as well. While he may not be the flashy one-on-one defender that captivates fans, Bullock was a solid rotational defender who helped to shore up holes in Thibodeau’s top-five defense all season.
Now, fans of the New York Knicks will have to watch him do that next to the likes of Kristaps Porzingis, the former prince who was promised turned villain who left them some years ago.
But fortunately for those fans, Leon Rose and the front office still found a way to make their “splash.”
Fournier is an Upgrade
When you look at what the New York Knicks did through the first day of free agency, it’s clear that they are prepared to run back last year’s roster, and it’s hard to blame them.
But on the flip side, if there’s an opportunity to upgrade a key position, you can’t blame them for that either.
And that’s exactly what the Knicks did, in signing 28-year old Evan Fournier on Monday night.
The nine-year veteran provides an immediate scoring option for New York, not named Julius Randle or RJ Barrett.
Fournier can score on all three levels, and more importantly, is a skilled shot creator.
New York’s struggles in the playoffs forced the subpar offensive skillsets of their top players into the light.
And Bullock, one of their better shooters from all of last season, couldn’t buy a bucket against the Hawks, even when switched onto a smaller defender like point guard Trae Young.
Fournier, on the other hand, averaged 15.4 points on a 43/43/83 split for the Boston Celtics in their first-round series loss to the super team Brooklyn Nets.
An upgrade indeed.