The Charlie Ward Curse Is Over! Mitchell Robinson Resigns for 4 Years/$60 Million

It sounds like the delay on Mitch returning was Masai making a late push to sign him, but Mitch ultimately stuck with his Plan A, which was reported days ago, of coming back to the Knick for four years and $60 million.

I am pumped, of course. Spending money in this offseason and then extending RJ and resigning Mitch always made the most sense if the Knicks weren’t going to rebuild, so Rose going the opposite direction last year always puzzled me, but at least Rose knows well enough to pivot, and here we are with Brunson, Mitch and Hart, the best trio of Knick free agents…ever?

My biggest problem last year was that the Knicks couldn’t be satisfied with the team they had, and the moves suggested that they were (coupled with a general, “Maybe someone good will come later?”), while these moves are, “We gotta change our ways,” and I like that.

The Knicks had not resigned any player that they drafted to a second contract since Charlie Ward’s second Knick deal, over thirty years ago (they reacquired THJ and kept David Lee and Nate Robinson for the rarely used qualifying offer season of their rookie deal, but never an extension or second contract at the close of the first), so this is major Knick history.

Tramps Like Us, Baby, We Were Born to Brunson – The 2022 Free Agency Opening Day Thread

How funny is it that free agency really is treated like a game in and of itself, right? And today is opening day for this stressful but entertaining game.

The Miami Heat will apparently not be meeting with Jalen Brunson today, making it a near certainty that Brunson will be signing with the Knicks as a free agent. What’s left to determine is A. how much he signs for and B. whether the Knicks and Mavericks work out a sign and trade for Brunson. There’s a possibility that the Knicks send out a player making enough money that the Knicks could maintain a lot of cap room even after acquiring Brunson.

Or not.

The Knicks might also finally get a chance to move on from Julius Randle.

Or maybe they won’t.

There’s a lot up in the air heading into the 6pm opening of free agency, but at least one thing appears not up in the air, which is that the Knicks are finally signing a big time free agent that other, actually good teams, also seriously want (heck, the Western Conference Runners-Up are going to be devastated by his departure). That’s the first time that’s happened since…Tyson Chandler, I guess? That’s cool.

Trading Randle would also be cool.

Oh, and of course, before I forget, Mitch Robinson is set to break the Charlie Ward Curse, which is also awesome (amusingly, if the Knicks work out an extension with RJ, I guess he and Mitch would share breaking the curse, right?).

So let’s talk about free agency!

Detroit Pistons Took the Chance to Repeat the Knicks 2021 Offseason

From ESPN.com:

The New York Knicks traded center Nerlens Noel and guard Alec Burks to the Detroit Pistons — clearing $19 million in additional salary-cap space — and they are now able to make an overwhelming contract offer in the neighborhood of $110 million to free-agent guard Jalen Brunson, sources told ESPN.

The Knicks included two future second-round picks and $6 million to incentivize the trade, sources said, and they now have approximately $30 million in cap space to make a massive four-year offer to Brunson. The offloading of players and assets to create the space clearly reflects the Knicks’ confidence they can reach an agreement with Brunson sometime after the opening of free agency.

The Detroit Pistons now have Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel and Kemba Walker, in other words, 3/5th of the free agent signings that the Knicks made just last offseason and the Knicks now have the cap room that they spent one first rounder and six second rounders to clear.

This seems pretty clear that the Knicks ARE getting Jalen Brunson, but now it’s just a question of how much of their newfound cap room will they spend on Brunson.

The amusing thing is that since their various deals this offseason will cap the shit out of the Knicks, I imagine that means that there is an actually really good chance at Cam Reddish getting an extension from the Knicks after this season, as they won’t have cap room to spend on anything else. Unless, of course, Reddish is included in a second trade that the Knicks might be setting up for with the additional first round picks that they traded for.

Well, let’s see what the other shoe is after the Brunson signing happens. Will they trade for a big star like Bradley Beal or Donovan Mitchell? Let’s find out!

The Knicks Trade the #11 Pick, Kemba Walker and Four Future Second Round Picks for a Mystery Prize

We were all expecting the Knicks to make some sort of move, and they did, in fact, get very busy on the trade market. They tried all night to move up to either #4 or #5 to get Jaden Ivey, and when that failed, also tried to move up to #7 to get Shaedon Sharpe. That didn’t work, either. All of the players that the Knicks were interested in went before pick #11 and you know how Leon Rose is, if the guy he wants isn’t there, he’s trading that pick (whether there were other players there that Rose should have been interested in) and that’s what he did, dealing the #11 pick to Oklahoma City for three of their treasure trove of future first round picks. The three picks were a lottery protected Denver Nuggets pick that would likely convey next year, but also a lottery protected Washington Wizards 2023 pick (that then becomes a top 12 protected pick in 2024, top 10 protected in 2025, top 8 protected in 2026 and then two 2026 second rounders if it doesn’t convey by 2026) and a top 18 protected Detroit Pistons 2023 pick (top 18 protected in 2024, top 13 protected in 2025, top 11 protected in 2025, top nine protected in 2027 and then a 2027 second round pick if it doesn’t convey by 2027).

The Knicks then used the best of the three picks, the 2023 Denver pick (remember, in the NBA, like the time value of money, the sooner a pick conveys, usually the more valuable the pick is) and four future second round picks to convince Charlotte to part with the #13 pick. The Knicks then selected Jalen Duren, which made everyone think that the Knicks were planning to keep him as a replacement for Mitchell Robinson. Instead, though, they used Duren to dump Kemba Walker on the Detroit Pistons, as well as get the 2025 Milwaukee Bucks pick (only top four protected) that the Pistons had just acquired for Jerami Grant. So instead of the Pistons stealing Mitchell Robinson from the Knicks, the Pistons got Duren, instead.

This move thus opened up $13 million on the Knicks salary cap for this offseason ($8 million from Kemba Walker and the $5 million they now no longer had to pay the #11 pick). Clearly, the Knicks are making these moves with the idea of making more moves in the near future, the question is, what will those moves be?

Until they actually make these moves, I can’t really judge what they did tonight.

Oh, and then the Knicks picked up Trevor Keels from Duke in the second round. I don’t know if they’ll even end up giving him a contract, but we shall see. They might be about to make a move that will clear out enough roster space that they might need Keels.

Four second rounders (two of them their own) and going from a 2023 pick in the 20s to a 2025 pick probably in the 20s, as well, is probably a bit high to clear out Kemba’s $8 million salary, but, again, it all comes down to what they needed to clear Kemba’s salary to do. This might turn out to be an amazing move.

We shall see pretty darn soon, as free agency starts in, what, a week?

2021-22 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Raptors: Will the Season End With One Last Meaningless Win?

The Raptors don’t have anything to play for tonight, while Thibs has the very important “Winning record through two seasons as a Knicks coach” record to play for tonight, so expect the Knicks to pull this one out.

That could be a problem, because the New Orleans Pelicans have locked up the #9 seed in the Western Conference and CJ McCollum has already tweeted (and then deleted) a tweet that suggested he won’t be playing much tonight, so the Pelicans (who are currently tied with the Knicks for the 11th worst record in the NBA) will quite possibly lose tonight against the Warriors, and thus a Knick win would send the Knicks towards their destiny, the 12th pick. However, a loss and a Pellies win would make the Knicks the default 11th pick and hell, even a split (where both the Knicks and the Pellies have the same result) would still leave the Knicks tied for the 11th, which is sadly a lot better than I ever expected, so that’s something!

Let’s go, someone!