Knicks secure top free agent target Donte DiVincenzo on $50 million deal

NBA: Playoffs-Sacramento Kings at Golden State Warriors
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After weeks of speculation, the Knicks made it obvious that guard Donte DiVincenzo would be one of their priorities in free agency, and after reports leaked that the Knicks would be one of those teams meeting with DiVincenzo, it seemed that a contract in New York would be a matter of when; not if. DiVincenzo, who was teammates with both Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart at Villanova, shot a career-high 39.7% from beyond the arc, which should help the Knicks with their shooting woes.

Doing so on 5.3 attempts a game, the Knicks get must-needed help for their perimeter offense, and they also add a skilled defender who strengthens their perimeter defense. Donte DiVincenzo will earn $50 million over the course of the next four seasons, giving him a lowered AAV and utilizing the fact that he’s just 26 years old to spread the $50 million over the course of four seasons.

Knicks Get Much-Needed Perimeter Help

On both sides of the basketball, the Knicks struggled when it came to the perimeter. From an offensive standpoint, the Knicks were one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the NBA, ranking 24th in efficiency beyond the arc (34.7%) despite ranking eighth in attempts. The Knicks due to their offensive rebounding and strong isolation play were able to muster plenty of attempts, and they finished with a strong offensive rating on the season, but that style of play struggles to work in the postseason.

The Knicks scuffled to shoot the basketball, and with a lack of spacing on the floor, the Knicks were helpless against Miami’s relentless defense. While Jalen Brunson is not only a great regular season scorer, but also a great postseason scorer, running all of your plays through one player and relying on them to create offense for everyone while also scoring a lot is simply unsustainable. Once Miami began doubling Brunson and creating situations where he needed to pass, the lack of reliable offense elsewhere caused the Knicks to fall in six games.

While Donte DiVincenzo isn’t a star-level player, his ability to shoot reliably made him a strong role player for a playoff-bound Warriors team, and he even won a title with the Milwaukee Bucks, although most of his contribution came as a starter in the regular season due to an ankle injury that sidelines him for the rest of the postseason. He shot over 40% this year from the corner, which makes him an attractive catch-and-shoot offense for this offense, as they look to create more ball movement in the upcoming season.

jalen brunson, knicks
Mar 31, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) celebrates after hitting a three-point basket during the second half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Offense isn’t the only area you can expect DiVincenzo to help, however, as the Knicks are getting a strong perimeter defender as well. Last season, the Knicks allowed the eighth-lowest three-point percentage, but they still allowed the seventh-most threes in the NBA. Teams know they can shoot a high volume of threes against New York to create offense, especially since the physicality Mitchell Robinson brings in the interior will deter most teams from trying to attack the glass.

DiVincenzo was a huge part of Golden State’s defense, as while they were a pedestrian defense, they had an abysmal 115.8 Defensive Rating with him off the court. For reference, that would have been the 23rd-worst mark in the league, and the Warriors are going to have to find a way to replace his defensive value and presence. We saw this trend with the Bucks as well, as even though he shot below 35% from three there, he still had a +3.3 Net Rating.

His synergy with Josh Hart and Jalen Brunson should translate well from their college days, and with the Knicks looking to make a huge trade for a big-name star, adding low-cost role players who can bolster their shooting and defense will only help them better compete for an NBA title. It’s a great signing for New York, and DiVincenzo joins a squad eager to take that next step into becoming true contenders.