Knicks' free-agency flop means tank is on for Cade Cunningham

nypost.com
4 min read
fairly easy
What Blue Saturday proved is Knicks senior VP William Wesley's connections and charisma won't draw top players to New York overnight. While striking out so far in free agency has given the Knicks c…
What Blue Saturday proved is Knicks senior VP William Wesley's connections and charisma won't draw top players to New York overnight.

While striking out so far in free agency has given the Knicks cap flexibility for the star-studded 2021 free-agent class led by Giannis Antetokounmpo and maybe Anthony Davis, that wasn't Plan A. Or Plan B.

When their priorities fell by the wayside, including landing Gordon Hayward, the Knicks resorted to Plan T – Tank. One-year deals on fringe guys with dreams of 2021.

The Knicks entered free agency with a league-high $40 million in cap space and with heady visions. They wanted to be a major playoff threat in coach Tom Thibodeau's first season and bring glamour back to the Garden – even if it might be empty for the 36-game home schedule.

That is why they drafted a more ready-made forward in native New Yorker Obi Toppin, age 22, over Israeli project forward Deni Avdija, 19, when both surprisingly dropped to No. 8.

Avdija, a playmaking forward, could be the next…Gordon Hayward. The Israeli had his fans in the Knicks organization.

The Knicks acted like a title contender on Wednesday's draft night when they wanted to keep open a roster spot for free agency and decided to hastily trade the 33rd pick in the draft – which most executives covet – for a 2023 second-round pick. They had little time to wheel as all their targets came off the board, including Duke center Vernon Carey Jr. at 32.

Those are not the actions of a rebuilding team, but one looking to turn around its miserable fortunes right away in a hurried, chaotic 2020-21 season. They wanted to give star-caliber coach Thibodeau, who usually doesn't covet rookies, the best chance.

As it…
Marc Berman
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