- With no marquee names landed in free agency, Knicks title odds plummet
- Main targets Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving land with Brooklyn
- Who is the best bet to come away with a title in the East?
There’s bad, then there’s New York Knicks bad.
One of basketball’s supposed glamor franchises officially hit the skids Sunday, coming away with exactly zero of the marquee free agents that were available this offseason.
Not only that, their crosstown cousins from Brooklyn took their blueprint and executed it to a tee, inking both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
It’s not a surprise then that you’ll need a powerful set of binoculars to find their distant NBA Championship Odds.
2020 NBA Championship Odds
|Los Angeles Lakers||+250|
|Golden State Warriors||+1000|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+1200|
|New York Knicks||+8000|
*Odds taken on July 1, 2019
This summer had so much promise, enough so that the Knicks’ average odds were +2900 ahead of NBA free agency.
The Heat (with the NBA’s Highest payroll in 2018-19 and no expiring deals) STILL had a better free agency than the Knicks who had 2 Max slots
— Butler and Herro Stan (41-24) (@brianvazquez123) July 1, 2019
But, after missing out on everyone, they’re now +8000. Let’s get this out of the way right now – New York ain’t winning, and they ain’t for a while.
Knicks Are a Broken Franchise
Currently, there’s only one way that the Knicks can turn this around: RJ Barrett turning into young Dwyane Wade 2.0, and building around their homegrown star (for the sanity of Knicks’ fans, here’s hoping Barrett isn’t fellow Canuck Andrew Wiggins 2.0).
This should have probably been the plan with the previous iteration of this player, but New York jettisoned Kristaps Porzingis in an effort to hit a home run in free agency.
we now have a look at the Knicks likely rotation:
PG: Dennis Smith Jr., Elfrid Payton, Frank Ntilikina
SG: Reggie Bullock, Damyean Dotson, Wayne Ellington, Allonzo Trier
SF: RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox, Ignas Brazdeikis
PF: Julius Randle, Bobby Portis
C: Mitchell Robinson, Taj Gibson
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) July 1, 2019
In typical Knicks fashion, though, they crippled their one positive (oodles of cap space) and it will cost them in the interim. They should have gone the way of the Nets, when they were in asset hell a little over three years ago, with their draft picks belonging to the Celtics.
The Knicks spending 52m on 5 role players (Ellington, Payton, Portis, Gibson, Bullock) over just keeping that cap space so they could absorb expensive shorter contracts w/ picks from cap/tax-strapped teams is just phenomenally and indefensibly dumb. I disagree violently with it.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) July 1, 2019
Armed with only cap space and a plan (imagine that), Brooklyn dealt away any semblance of veteran talent for draft picks, and took on dead-weight contracts other teams were desperate to unload, so long as it came attached with a draft pick or young player with upside.
This isn't the free agency that New York fans imagined, but Knicks gathering group of serious-minded, professional players: Ellington, Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson and Julius Randle. No stars, but Randle's young and talented. It's a hard-playing, competitive group for David Fizdale. https://t.co/UtU78pwCE8
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2019
Instead, New York spent the money they carved out on Julius Randle, Elfrid Payton, Bobby Portis, Reggie Bullock and Wayne Ellington. At best, they have an outside shot at eighth. In the East. Glass-half-full Knicks fans will tell you these deals are all short term, so New York will again be a bidder for free agents next go around.
But so what? With nothing resembling a plan, culture or roster enticing to any star player, what changes, other than the year?
Again, wishing RJ success and the best of health.
Who’s the Best Title Bet in the East?
There are two clear-cut favorites here, with two major caveats dangling as qualifiers. If Kawhi Leonard re-ups with the Raptors, they are loaded and ready for a repeat. It’s that uncertainty that leaves the defending champs at +700.
The ultimate Kawhi Leonard free-agency "announcement" would be dead silence through September and then he just shows up for his team's training camp like nothing happened. ?
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 1, 2019
The 76ers actually have, on paper, the most dominant starting five in basketball – particularly on the defensive end. If you have faith in Elton Brand finding three useable bench pieces to form a coherent squad, the +1000 odds are enticing.
Horford to Philly means it will not be possible to score on the #76ers. Getting young, ascending, cheaper Richardson to replace Butler also very good. W/Bucks losing Brogdon, and Mirotic, even if Kawhi stays in Toronto, Philly may have just become the favorites in the East
— Max Kellerman (@maxkellerman) July 1, 2019
The Nets look like a high-risk, high-reward wager for 2020. Sure, Kevin Durant will likely miss all of this year, but a game Brooklyn crew made the playoffs last year, and just swapped D’Angelo Russell for Kyrie Irving. If Irving isn’t the headcase he was portrayed to be in Beantown, this squad is sneaky-good with a legit top-10 closer to bring it home.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.