After the great run they had to end the 2020-21 season to finish 41-31, the Knicks made precision moves during the 2021 off season — keeping the team mostly in tact, and adding two ‘name’ free agents:
- Evan Fournier — the 29-yr-old, 6’7 scoring forward who averaged 13.0 ppg and shot 46.3 % from 3 last year for Orlando and Boston, and
- Kemba Walker — the 31-yr-old, 6’0 scoring point guard who averaged 19.3 ppg and 36% from 3 last year for the Celtics.
NY also signed two ‘lesser name’ free agents:
- Dwayne Bacon — a 26-yr old, 6’6 swingman who averaged 10.9 ppg last year for Orlando and
- Wayne Selden — a 25-yr old, 6’5 swingman who averaged 8.0 ppg for Chicago last year. The Knicks signed him late in training camp in September.
Just as important as the free agents New York signed, was the extension to Julius Randle‘s contract — a 4-year, $117 Million extension — making the 27-yr-old a Knick through 2025-26.
(All ages above are the age they will be at this coming season.)
And also important was the resigning of certain Knicks who became free agents:
In the draft, the Knicks:
- Traded their #19 pick to Charlotte for a future 1st rounder,
- Traded down their #21 for the #25 pick that they used to draft 6’5 shooting guard Quentin Grimes out of Houston (and gained a future 2nd-round pick),
- Traded down their #32 pick for the #34 pick that they used to select 6’4 shooting guard Rokas Jokubaitis out of Lithuania and the #36 pick they used to select 6’2 point guard Miles McBride out of West Virginia.
- Selected 6’10 shot blocker Jericho Sims out of Texas with the #58 pick.
Who Is Gone
Also notable are the players who were not brought back and are no longer on the Knicks:
- Frank Ntilikina — who signed with Dallas, and
- Reggie Bullock — who signed with Dallas.
- Elfrid Payton — who signed with Phoenix.
- Ignas Brazdeikis — released.
- Norvel Pelle — released.
And of course the most important thing is that Coach Tom Thibodeau will be back.
Your 2021-22 NY Knicks
The Knicks now project to have the following team:
- Center: Mitchell Robinson, Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson
- Power Forward: Julius Randle and Obi Toppin
- Scoring Forward: Evan Fournier, Dwayne Bacon, Wayne Selden, and Kevin Knox
- Shooting Guard: RJ Barrett, Alec Burks, and Quentin Grimes
- Point Guard: Kemba Walker, Derrick Rose, Immanuel Quickley, and Miles McBride
That’s 16 players for a 15-man roster. Someone might get ‘injured’ before the preseason starts.
Miles McBride looked terrific in Summer League and many Knick fans thought he looked like a steal. It’s been reported that he was a favorite of Tom Thibodeau, who was the main proponent of the Knicks drafting him.
The Knicks had signed Argentinian point guard Luca Vildoza at the end of last season, but he has already been cut loose.
It is a big year for Mitchell Robinson, coming off the foot injury. He has to stay healthy, and finally show off the postups and jumper we’ve seen so much of in youtube videos of practice.
It’s a big year for Kevin Knox as well — who has fallen from grace greatly despite showing a pretty, high-arcing, and accurate 3 pointer and better Defense.
Fournier has been a terrific addition on paper, with the 46% 3-pt field goal percentage and he’s always played well against the Knicks; a deadly scorer. It will be interesting to see how much Kemba Walker has left in the tank and how well he fits in with the Knicks offensively and defensively.
And it’s a big year for Julius Randle, Tom Thibodeau and the Knicks in general. Thibs turned them around last year — showing everyone they had the talent — the coaching had been missing.
Expect a 50+ win season — possibly 55 wins — and the Knicks advancing past the 1st round this year. How far they go will be interesting to see.