Knicks’ potential target Fred Van Vleet wants to get paid in a lead role

New York Knicks, Fred Van Fleet

Let the Fred Van Vleet bidding war begins.

The New York Knicks‘ potential free-agent target has indicated that he will go where he feels he is most valued.

Appearing on J.J. Redick’s The Old Man and the Three podcast, Van Vleet never shied away from the biggest question he will face in the coming weeks.

“I’ve never been shy about it. I’ve never talked about it publicly, but I’ll share it with you guys. I’m trying to get paid, man. I’m not shy about that,” Van Vleet said.

“I don’t have to tell people that I value winning. Look at my story, do your research. I’ve never been on a losing team in my entire life. That’s what I’m about. That’s just what it is. I won a championship, and now it’s time to cash out on 26 [years old], but I feel like I’m on the verge of blossoming even more in a lead role and with more responsibility… At the end of the day, it’s not purely numbers, but the numbers do play a big part, and I just want to feel my value reciprocated from the other end.”

Van Vleet’s rise from an undrafted player is one of the most compelling stories in the NBA.

He played a pivotal role in the Toronto Raptors’ championship run in 2019. His stellar play last season also helped them to reach the Eastern Conference semifinals despite the departure of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.

Van Vleet is coming off a career season where he averaged 17.6 points, 6.6 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 1.9 steals, and led the league in deflections with 4.2 per game. He also shot just a shade under 40 percent from the deep.

The Knicks, hunting for a lead guard, have the cap space to make a splash in the free agency.

But the Detroit Pistons and the Phoenix Suns, if the Chris Paul trade does not materialize, are expected to crowd them and the Raptors for Van Vleet’s services.

The Raptors could offer him a staggered four year, $70-million deal to maintain cap flexibility for 2021. But it appears they would need to shell out more to retain their unrestricted free agent.

ESPN’s front office insider Bobby Marks estimates that Van Vleet would fetch around $18-20 million in the free agency. Before the pandemic, when the economy was healthy, Marks said one team told him that Van Vleet could be worth $25-30 million.

Without the league’s superstars in the free agency, Van Vleet is considered the top prize.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

New York Knicks should target this player over Chris Paul

New York Knicks, Spike Lee

As we all know, the New York Knicks need a point guard.  There are plenty of rumors about trading for Chris Paul and the possibility of drafting a point guard.  However, is there a better option?

Instead of the Knicks trading for Chris Paul, who arguably has one the worst contracts in the NBA, they should consider their options.   Paul still has two years left on his deal and getting 80+ million.  Not to mention Paul is an aging point guard despite having a very good season.  Plus, the Knicks shouldn’t be thinking about giving up young assets, and most likely picks, for a 34-year-old point guard.

Who the Knicks should really target is Fred Van Vleet, 26-years old, from Toronto.

Some may think that offering Van Vleet max money will be a ‘trap contract’.  He’s playing very well for the Raptors but once he gets paid, he’s play could decline.  In New York, playing for the Knicks, that’s definitely possible.  We’ve seen it before.

Some team out there, maybe the Knicks, is going to offer Van Vleet a lot of money, possibly max money.  He’s a scrappy style of play forces turnovers and has that underdog story that everyone loves.  Van Vleet is quick, can score and has a defensive mindset.

Van Vleet best season was 2018-19 really stepping up his game in the NBA finals.  The Raptors probably don’t win the title without him, and he came back from that championship run an even better player.  Sure, we all wish he was a little taller but he has the determination and drive to win.  As of right now, he’s better than any other point guard the Knicks have on their roster.  He’s averaging 17.6 points, 6.6 assists and 1.9 steals this season.

While people in the Knicks organization think Paul can change the culture of the team, it’s best to stay away.  The Knicks have been down that path too many times.  Trying to take on big contracts for a quick fix. It doesn’t work.

Why this wasn’t the best breakdown of Van Vleet or Paul, it’s really simply.  If the New York Knicks are going to trade for or sign a point guard, fans would rather them go younger than older, with a very expensive contract.

New York Knicks: Spacing On The Offensive End Must Be Addressed By Any Means Necessary

New York Knicks, Kevin Knox

The New York Knicks need shooting and spacing by any means necessary. The additional spacing on the offensive end starts with a point-guard with mid-range and three-point shooting ability.

There are prospects in free agency and in the draft that may help the New York Knicks. Fred Van Vleet would be an excellent floor spacing point-guard signing due to his dangerous ability to hit the three-pointer and the mid-range jumper. Explosive and sharpshooting Cole Anthony would be a great draft pick if the Knicks fall in the draft to 9th or 10th pick.

With a lineup of Elfrid Payton, RJ Barrett, Reggie Bullock, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson/Taj Gibson, there’s just not enough spacing. The power-forward position and the point -guard position must be able to consistently shoot and make the three-pointer in order to keep defenses honest in today’s NBA. Steve Mills obviously was stuck in a different era of basketball and it showed in his offseason signings. He made poor signings in the previous era as well. Overall, Mills was spine-chillingly horrendous at his job as a Knick president.

There is an opportunity for Kevin Knox during the pandemic to work on his game both offensively and defensively. Kevin Knox has a chance to thrust himself into the starting lineup as a well-needed stretch four for the Knicks at 6’9″ and a 7’0″ wingspan. Randle hasn’t solidified his spot with his forceful and low basketball IQ play on offense. Knox must continue working on strengthening his body along with his conditioning. A drastic improvement defensively from a young Knox is enough to catapult him into the starting lineup over Julius Randle at this point. Offensively, Knox will come around. Opportunity and a point-guard will give Knox rhythm on offense to go along with his naturally smooth shooting ability, however, defensively is where Knox can turn his game and young career around.