The Knicks have a beautiful bench tandem emerging from their spending spree

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at New York Knicks
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have executed several phenomenal moves this week to strengthen their roster, highlighted by the acquisition of Mikal Bridges, the extension of OG Anunoby, and the addition of several draft picks poised to contribute in the future.

Financial Maneuvering Opens Up Salary Space

The Knicks’ front office has also been adept at managing finances, notably offloading the sizable contract of Bojan Bogdanovic and trading away one of their first-round picks.

These moves have freed up several million dollars, crucial as the team aims to stay below the $178 million first salary apron. With this financial strategy, the Knicks are positioning themselves for further transactions, possibly to facilitate an extension for Isaiah Hartenstein.

Knicks’ Starting Five Solidification and Bench Boost

The arrivals of Bridges and Anunoby solidify key positions in the starting lineup, which will inevitably shift some players to bench roles. This transition creates a formidable duo off the bench, featuring Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo, set to become one of the NBA’s premier reserve pairs next season.

Nov 20, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) against Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25) at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Impact from the Bench: Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo

Josh Hart, the heart of the team, contributed significantly last season with averages of 9.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 4.16 assists, shooting 43.4% from the field. Although his role may diminish with the influx of talent, his energy and playmaking remain vital to the Knicks’ strategy.

Donte DiVincenzo, a key scorer for the Knicks in 2024, also set the franchise record for three-pointers made. Over 81 games, he posted a career-high 15.5 points per game, along with 3.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists, showcasing a shooting prowess of 44.3% from the field and 40.1% from three-point range. His ability to provide spacing and aggressiveness off the bench will be crucial, especially against worn-down opponents and secondary team rotations.

May 17, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) reacts after a made basket during game six of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs against the Indiana Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Contractual Commitments and Future Implications

Josh Hart is entering the first year of a four-year, $80.9 million extension, with an $18.1 million cap hit this upcoming year. The Knicks hold a club option for him at $22.3 million for the 2027–28 season when he will be 30, a point at which his performance may decline due to age.

Conversely, DiVincenzo is on a highly favorable four-year, $46.8 million contract, costing $11.4 million against the cap next season at 28 years old. Given his style of play, he remains a valuable asset for the Knicks throughout the duration of his contract.

Aiming for Championship Aspirations

With these strategic moves, the Knicks not only enhance their depth and talent but also position themselves as serious contenders to challenge the Boston Celtics and other top teams in the upcoming NBA season.

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