Knicks construct free agent contracts perfectly with final year outs

New York Knicks, NYK

The New York Knicks signed five free agents over the past two days, four of which are familiar faces from last season. However, the way they constructed their contracts allows them financial freedom after the 2022-23 season, which just so happens to be the year Zion Williamson’s contract expires.

Knicks’ free agent signings:

Derrick Rose: Three years, $43 million

Rose signed a three-year extension with the Knicks, and while it’s expected to be via the Early Bird exception, the front office should have around $5.5 million left to spend after bringing back Taj Gibson. However, the three-year deal is virtually a two-year deal, as the third season doesn’t have any guaranteed money attached.

Most believed the three-year contracts for Rose, Noel, and Burks were a bit overzealous, but two-year deals seem more efficient.

Nerlens Noel: Three years, $32 million

Noel is in a similar boat, as the third year is non-guaranteed, so the team can move on without any financial implications. Noel coming back averaging over 10 $million per season was undoubtedly a surprise, especially with Mitchell Robinson expected to hold down the starting job, barring injury. The former first-round pick played valiantly last season, though, averaging a career-high 2.2 blocked shots. While he doesn’t offer much offensively, he’s a stout defender, which fits Tom Thibodeau’s mold.

Alec Burks: Three years, $30 million

With Burks making $10 million per season, the Knicks can cut him after two years if they feel he isn’t offering them adequate value. Last season, Burks was one of their best pure scorers, averaging 12.7 points per game over 25.6 minutes. He shot 42% from the field and 41.5% from three. Bringing him back was likely a priority, as he plays a great complementary role.

Taj Gibson: One year, $2.7 million

The Brooklyn native will likely ride the pine during the 2021-22 season. At 36 years old, Gibson displayed fantastic intensity and effort during the postseason against the Atlanta Hawks, and while he doesn’t offer much offense at this point in his career, he’s a great leader and mentor to have behind the scenes.

Evan Fournier: Four years, $78 million

The Knicks might have overpaid for Fournier, but he is an upgrade over Reggie Bullock. With the ability to create his own shots and drive to the rim, Fournier should provide more weaponry on offense, taking some pressure off Julius Randle. This deal is essentially three years, as the fourth year is voidable with no guarantees attached. Essentially, the deal is a three-year, $58.5 million deal.

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