Report: Knicks had eyes on DeMar DeRozan, but went in a vastly different direction

New York Knicks, DeMar Derozan

The New York Knicks have had an exciting off-season full of free agent acquisitions and draft selections, but during the dog days of the rumor mill, the front office was connected to nearly every option on the market.

One player, the Knicks, had interesting, DeMar DeRozan of the San Antonio Spurs, ended up signing a lucrative deal with Chicago. However, the Knicks had their sights set on the shooting guard, who predominantly feasts in the paint rather than feature as a sharpshooter from the perimeter.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks were intrigued by DeMar DeRozan in free agency, electing to go in a very different direction.

“Turns out, according to two NBA sources, [Knicks GM Scott] Perry was leaning toward a bolder pursuit, that of San Antonio standout swingman DeMar DeRozan. He made the All-Star Game his last three seasons in Toronto before being traded to the Spurs in 2018. DeRozan, though, would have cost more per season. According to the sources, DeRozan had sincere interest in the Knicks, but instead ended up with a generous deal in Chicago – a three-year, $85 million package. The Knicks inked [Evan] Fournier for four years, $78 million (with bonuses) while retaining a team option for the final season.”

DeRozan has averaged 20+ points consecutively since 2013, earning four All-Star appearances during that time frame. He dominates in the paint, using his physicality and savvy style. He shot nearly 50% from the field last year but only attempted 1.2 three-pointers per game. Nonetheless, the Knicks’ interest might’ve created a few problems for power for Julius Randle, who plays a very similar style of basketball with added shooting prowess.

Instead, the front office went in an entirely different direction, signing Evan Fournier to a four-year contract instead. Fournier couldn’t be more opposite compared to DeRozan, averaging 17.1 points last year, but attempting 6.7 three-pointers per game, hitting on 41.3% of his shots from range. He features as a spot-up shooter who can also create opportunities for himself, while DeRozan uses his 6’6″, 220-pound frame to find his way close to the basket.

Ultimately, Fournier’s qualities likely fit the Knicks’ style much better, who want to be a high percentage three-point shooting team while adding defensive value. Fournier will draw attention away from the paint, and Randle, who will remain the team’s top player as the Knicks, took a more conservative approach this off-season when it comes to signing bonafide stars.

At the end of the day, the Knicks might’ve dodged a bullet avoiding DeRozan and letting him sign a fruitful deal with Chicago.

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