Knicks refine roster by cutting bait with three top prospects & re-signing PF talent

New York Knicks forward Jacob Toppin (00) blocks a shot by Boston Celtics guard DJ Steward (26) during the second half at Madison Square Garden

The New York Knicks have said goodbye to Charlie Brown Jr., Dwayne Washington Jr., and DaQuan Jeffries amid a wave of recent roster moves.

The Knicks’ most recent trade for Michael Bridges and their re-signing of OG Anunoby has given the team clear direction as to where they want to be headed for the 2024-25 campaign. Both moves have also stacked their depth chart at shooting guard and small forward, necessitating vacancies at other more pressing positions. Thus, the trio of young talents found themselves casualties of offseason roster upgrades this summer.

Charlie Brown Jr. and Duane Washington Jr. saw their Knicks careers end this summer

Jan 13, 2024; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; New York Knicks guard Duane Washington Jr. (4) drives to the basket as Memphis Grizzlies guard Luke Kennard (10) defends during the first half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Brown Jr. played well for the Westchester Knicks last season, having averaged 17.7 points per game and 6.5 rebounds along with a team-high 2.1 steals in 33.4 minutes of action per night. No matter, his 32.6 percent clip from the three-point line and 42.3 percent connect rate from the field left something to be desired.

Washington Jr. was one of the brightest spots for the Westchester Knicks in 2023-24. His 22.5 points per game fell short only to Brandon Goodwin on the year, and he delivered on 39.3 percent of his 9.7 three-point attempts per contest while also proving himself to be a capable distributor at the guard slot with 4.8 nightly assists. Unfortunately, Washington Jr. did not see a single minute of action for the Knicks’ NBA ball club despite his promising scoring talent, and won’t next season, even with the Knicks needing a competent backup point guard behind All-Star Jalen Brunson.

The Knicks also declined DaQuan Jeffries’ team option while bringing back Jacob Toppin

New York Knicks forward Jacob Toppin
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

As Michael Zeno of Posting and Toasting accentuated, Washington Jr. and Brown Jr. were two of three two-way contracts that the Knicks had to make tough decisions on. The third was Jacob Toppin, who the Knicks have brought back into their system on a qualifying offer. There is a need for power forward depth in New York, as was the case last season. This could be exacerbated by a potential Julius Randle trade waiting to happen. Toppin Jr.’s 19.8 PPG and 8.5 RPG for Westchester in 2023-24 make him a fringe double-double threat who could stay ready for a call-up in the event of injury or necessity next season.

New York also cut bait with Jeffries. He had been in the Knicks’ pipeline for several seasons. The Oklahoma native made a strong plea to crack the final 12-man roster after earning a $2.46 million team option ahead of the last campaign. He contributed 22 points per game of his own and 5.9 rebounds per night while posting 0.9 takeaways in the G League. Albeit, much like Brown Jr. and Washington Jr., the Knicks have less room for another combo guard/forward on their roster. Thus, New York declined to pick up his team option, slating him for free agency this summer.

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