The New York Knicks were poised to make a run at Gordon Hayward in free agency, but he instead got $120 million from the Charlotte Hornets. After a great draft week, New York received a bit of a reality check.
The Knicks were trending in the right direction early this week. National Player of the Year, Obi Toppin, fell to them at the 8th pick in the NBA Draft; Kentucky’s Immanuel Quickley was available for them later in the first round; Myles Powell agreed to a deal as an undrafted free agent after a great year at Seton Hall.
Then, Hayward opted out of his one-year deal to go back to the Boston Celtics. It was the perfect storm.
The Knicks had just enough room to go get the former All-Star…then a dose of reality came. All the Knicks came up with was former Philadelphia 76er swingman, Alec Burks on a one-year, $6 million deal.
Hayward the Hornet
Out of nowhere, Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Hornets came out and scooped up Hayward, giving him $120 million over four years to join first-round pick LaMelo Ball. If you ask Hayward’s representation, I’m sure they weren’t really considering going to Madison Square Garden like all of the local sports radio stations thought.
New York could very well acquire a star player such as Russell Westbrook in Houston or John Wall–who recently made it clear he wants out of Washington. But, the fact of the matter is the Knicks are not a better team on paper than the 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, or the Indiana Pacers. They aren’t back to being an attractive free-agent destination yet.
But, fans should be excited about the Knicks’ upcoming season for the first time since 2012. Leon Rose, Scott Perry, and the rest of the front office are building a young and talented team led by Toppin and RJ Barrett with Tom Thibodeau as the head coach. They should begin to turn the corner this upcoming season, which starts in a matter of weeks.
Follow Ben Fadden on Twitter @benfaddensports
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