The New York Knicks finally have a sense of direction thanks to the hiring of president Leon Rose to lead the franchise from the front office. Taking a different approach toward the rebuild, the Knicks not only succeeded in their player evaluations through the draft, but their financial strategy has taken a significant step forward.
Several factors have contributed toward the Knicks becoming an attractive destination for star players. While they didnâ€™t secure the rights to a player like Chris Paul this off-season, they did add Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker, two players who will offer more offensive efficiency and production compared to Elfred Payton and Reggie Bullock.
However, the Knicks are thinking long-term, but theyâ€™re also in a position to win now with the talent currently on the roster. Financially, they extended multiple players preparing to hit the open market but interestingly included a nonguaranteed third-year to clear salary space for several reasons.
The Knicks have set their books up in a way that RJ can get a max extension and they could still go after a star in 23 should one be available. That is why I dont see RJs role being reduced this season. They appear to have planned for RJ getting the bag.
— Robert Currence (@Knickstape2005) August 29, 2021
Whether RJ Barrett is at the forefront of their decision-making financially or they are targeting a player like Zion Williamson down the road, the team will have plenty of funds available to them if need be. Just take a look at these contracts and how healthy they are for their future plans.
How great do the Knicks’ contracts look for the future?
Alec Burks: 3-years, $30 million
Nerlens Noel: 3-years, $27.7 million
Derrick Rose: 3-years, $43.56 million
Julius Randle: 4-year, $117 million (AAV under $30 million per season)
Theoretically, if the team is looking to open up salary space, they can clear Burks, Noel, and Rose off the books after the 2022-23 season.
How much will that account for?
The team would add a staggering $35.77 million, enough to extend RJ Barrett on a max contract or add a big name to complement Randle, who will only be in the 2nd year of his extension.
The maximum salary coming off a rookie contract is five years, $163 million (could be more if the salary cap continues to climb). However, that would be an ideal scenario for the Knicks, which would indicate Barrett becoming an All-NBA level talent that dominates in multiple facets.
More-so, the Knicks might be eyeing Williamson, whose contract with the Pelicans ends after the 2022-23 campaign. The Pelicans can offer him the qualifying offer, but the Knicks would have the monetary flexibility to present him with a massive offer sheet. Williamson has already indicated his love for the Knicks and desires to play in New York, so when his contract in New Orleans finishes, he will have a bit more leverage.
Nonetheless, taking a look at these contracts opens an exciting door that shows the quality of the front office and how they are strategizing for the future. At last, competent management for a franchise starving for leadership.