The New York Knicks has been one of the busiest teams recently.
New York was once seen as a destination for star NBA players, but now the Knicks are just trying to avoid being the laughingstock of the league. The Knicks (31-51 in 2016-17) have missed the playoffs each of the last four seasons and are currently finishing up a major front office overhaul after firing President Phil Jackson.
New York began the week with 12 players officially under contract though the organization had deals in place with a couple of others. The Knicks ultimately finalized deals with restricted free agent Ron Baker and 2017 second round selection Damyean Dotson on August 7.
Baker’s deal is worth $9.8 million for two years. The 6-4 shooting guard is a tough nosed defensive-minded player who showed the ability to move the ball on the offensive end. The Wichita State product got better as the season progressed, scoring in double figures three times in his last seven games. Baker, who started 13 of the 51 games he appeared in, averaged 4.1 points along with 2.1 assists and 1.9 rebounds. He shot just 37.8% from the field and only 26.7% from beyond the arc.
The Knicks also previously had an agreement with Dotson but waited until Monday to make it official. Dotson was selected with the 44th overall pick by the team out of the University of Houston. The 6-6 guard, known for his long-range shooting, produced 17.4 points and 6.9 rebounds a game while shooting 44% from beyond the arc last season for the Cougars.
Dotson also was impressive for the Knicks during the Orlando Summer League. Dotson showed that he was a prolific perimeter shooter during the five-game showcase and tallied double figures three times. He averaged 12.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists during the summer while knocking down 12 three-pointers at a 48.0% clip.
Dotson’s deal is for three years with the first two seasons guaranteed.
Damyean Dotson's deal with the Knicks is a 3-year contract, per league sources. Two years of the deal are fully guaranteed, sources say.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) July 23, 2017
Then in somewhat of a shocking move, the Knicks inked veteran journeyman Michael Beasley to a contract on August 8. The 6-9 forward has career averages of 12.6 points and 4.7 rebounds in 509 games over nine NBA seasons. He averaged 9.4 points along with 3.4 boards while shooting a career-high 41.9% on three-point attempts with the Milwaukee Bucks last season. The former No. 2 overall pick has also played for Miami, Minnesota, Phoenix and Houston.
Beasley’s deal is expected to be for the league minimum as the Knicks are over the salary cap and used their room exception to sign Baker.
So, how will the three players fit in with the Knicks? Baker and Dotson seem to be ideal fits for the Knicks, who now have 15 players under contract as the team is said to be a focus on developing players. However, Chasson Randle’s contract is nonguaranteed and rookie Luke Kornet has a two-way contract. Meaning that the Knicks still could still a few players, including one more on a two-way contract. Each player that the team signs will be for the minimum.
Baker will likely battle veteran Ramon Sessions for the backup point guard spot behind first round draft choice Frank Ntilinka. Baker could also see a few minutes at shooting guard. In the meantime, Dotson will likely spend most of the season in Westchester with the Knicks G League team. Dotson could see some time with the big club especially with injuries to either Sessions or Courtney Lee.
Beasley is most likely to be the most productive of the three players. Beasley will likely start the season coming off the bench spelling both small forward Carmelo Anthony and power forward Kristaps Porzingis. Beasley’s best attribute is his scoring ability. He could also start at small forward if the Knicks decide to deal Anthony.