The New York Knicks were extremely active this off-season, signing familiar faces preparing to hit the free-agent market and bringing in new talent to replace those that didn’t make the cut.
Impending free agents like Elfred Payton and Reggie Bullock simply didn’t offer enough value to earn a second contract with the Knicks, as they elected to spend money and upgrade both spots with Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier. The Knicks were connected to some of the brightest players in the league during the rumor mill months, but they nearly reunited with one legend from the past, Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony, who ended up signing a one-year, $2.6 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, spent last season with the Portland Trailblazers, averaging 13.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, and shot 42% from the field. Melo connected on 41% of his three-point shots, showcasing he still has shooting efficiency on his side, despite being 36-years-old.
Playing in 69 games last season, averaging 24.5 minutes, Carmelo still has gas left in the tank, but his career is slowly coming to an end. He is far removed from his younger years when he averaged nearly 30 points per game with the Knicks in 2012, but the front office saw him as a potential piece on a cheap contract.
Instead, he will join a stacked Los Angeles team where he will pair up with Anthony Davis and LeBron James, living out the rest of his career with championship aspirations.
Carmelo Anthony was close to signing with the Knicks.
Imagine how fun this team would have been if he did… pic.twitter.com/Fe3VVNBgbJ
— Basketball Forever (@Bballforeverfb) September 20, 2021
The Knicks elected to retain Alec Burks and draft youngster Quentin Grimes to provide scoring production from range. All-Star power forward Julius Randle is convinced the team has taken a big step forward, and the process of accomplishing success has been a long time in the making.
Randle told Ian Begley of SNY that “everything is a process. We’ve been building this from the ground up. But for me, personally, winning a title in New York is the expectation.”
It is clear the organization is dialed in and on an upward trajectory, which is far more than we can say for the past few years, if not decades. Having established talent and youth on the rise is exactly the situation the Knicks want to be in, and they’ve only added more this off-season to help boost their chances of making a deeper postseason run compared to their 2020-21 season when they were knocked out in the first round by the Atlanta Hawks.