Will the New York Knicks regret not signing DeMar DeRozan?
From all accounts, the offseason has been a success for the New York Knicks. They improved the roster while maintaining some level of financial flexibility heading into the future. Overall, the Knicks should be a better team this season.
However, even though the Knicks acquired Kemba Walker, they still sorely lacked the big splash move that will catapult them up the standings in the Eastern Conference. If anything, the expectation is that the Knicks will probably take a bit of a step back this season.
Looking back, though, there could be one big “what if” for the Knicks as the season unfolds. And it revolves around DeMar DeRozan.
According to a recent report, the Knicks considered signing DeRozan (who was a late signee during free agency, and ultimately landed with the Chicago Bulls) but ultimately decided against it.
History will remember the Knicks signing Evan Fournier (along with Walker) as their big signings of the summer. They agreed to a four-year, $78 million contract with Fournier. They could’ve easily used that money, with a few extra million, to land DeRozan – who ended up signing a three-year, $82 million deal – if they truly wanted to.
The New York Knicks took a gamble and it will need to pay off
They didn’t and will perhaps be judged by that decision this season. Especially if the Bulls have a successful year in which they end up with a better record than the Knicks, and DeRozan plays a big role in their success, the Knicks’ decision of this offseason will be questioned.
Fournier is younger than DeRozan but there’s no question that the latter is the better player at this point in their respective careers. In fairness to the Knicks, it seems as if DeRozan was being faded pretty much all offseason. He was one of the final big-name free agents to sign and it was clear that many don’t view DeRozan as a seamless fit on any roster.
For as good as a player DeRozan is – and he improved his playmaking this past season with the San Antonio Spurs – he still leaves much to be desired without a consistent 3-point shot and on the defensive end.
Perhaps that’s a risk that the Knicks weren’t willing to make this offseason? Although, I’m not sure how they were willing to NOT pay DeRozan, and they were willing TO pay Fournier. At least on the surface, that doesn’t make complete sense to me.
Either way, the Knicks elected to not sign DeRozan this offseason. It was a gamble. And they’ll be judged by it if it doesn’t work out for them and if it does for the Bulls.