The New York Knicks have had a rough first day of free agency, as the team watched its crosstown rival, Brooklyn, scoop up Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant — the duo that was long rumored to potentially join forces in Manhattan.
Reports came out that they didn’t want to give Durant the full max due to his Achilles injury, leading to a spectacular on-air rant from Stephen A. Smith during The Jump‘s live free agency special. Shortly after, they reached a deal with Julius Randle on a hefty three-year, $63 million contract (with a reported team option in the third year), but weren’t done signing power forwards.
Taj Gibson got a two-year, $20 million deal from the Knicks and late on Sunday it was reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that they had agreed to a two-year, $31 million offer sheet with Wizards restricted free agent Bobby Portis.
The Wizards quickly pulled their qualifying offer and will let Portis go to New York.
With that decision, New York has now filled up a good portion of their salary cap with power forwards, creating a very interesting roster dynamic. That’s especially the case considering one of the few bright spots on the roster is young center Mitchell Robinson, who it now would appear is going to be fighting for playing time with their new free agent signings.
In a vacuum, none of the deals are all that egregious, even if the Randle and Portis annual salaries seem a bit steep. The plan is clearly to have space again in two years with all three potentially coming off the books, but they just don’t even make much sense from the standpoint of building any kind of roster for the next two years that could grow and succeed to much of any degree.