The New York Knicks enter the offseason with president of basketball operations Leon Rose and head coach Tom Thibodeau facing an uphill battle to turn this team into a contender. While some might consider a rebuild, the Knicks could be eyeing a splash in NBA free agency with Toronto Raptors star Fred VanVleet.
VanVleet, who went undrafted in 2016, has emerged as one of the most exciting, young guards in the NBA. As he now looks to help push the Raptors to a second consecutive NBA title, the 26-year-old finds himself firmly on New York’s offseason radar.
New York Knicks interested in Fred VanVleet
VanVleet’s breakout moment came during the 2019 NBA Finals, when he stepped into a primary role and thrived. After helping bring a championship to Canada, the Raptors moved him into their lineup this season and gave him a shot to prove himself.
The decision paid off, with VanVleet taking his game to another level. He shot 41.3% from the field and set career-highs in points per game (17.6), assists (6.6) and steals (1.9) in 54 contests.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Knicks are widely expected to pursue VanVleet when NBA free agency begins. However, they won’t be alone with the Raptors, Detroit Pistons and Phoenix Suns all expected to make strong efforts to sign him.
The interest in VanVleet is understandable. When his number was called in the biggest moment of his career, he came through for the Raptors. When the team pushed him into a bigger role this season, he proved himself once again.
Unsurprisingly, VanVleet is playing even better this postseason. He made 55.9% of his three-point attempts during Toronto’s sweep over the Brooklyn Nets, averaging 21.3 points, 7.8 assists and four rebounds per night.
The Raptors will certainly have the edge to re-sign him, given his history with the team and the chance to be part of a perennial title contender.
If the Knicks are willing to open up the checkbook and make VanVleet an offer he can’t refuse, though, New York could finally have a top guard to build around.
Of course, recent history means it’s likely the Knicks miss out on another marquee player in free agency. If that happens, our latest 2021 NBA mock draft could solve their problem.