There have been several reports tying the Knicks and VanVleet together. Our friends at Daily Knicks can tell you who first mentioned it, but I think The Athletic, Knicks Film School and the New York Daily News have all mentioned VanVleet as a Knicks target.
League sources say that VanVleet is indeed among the free agent options under consideration by New York. I don’t know how strong the Knicks’ interest in VanVleet is, but there was one report about New York preparing an offer of more than $20 million per season for the point guard.
Clearly, that’s the kind of offer a team would need to make to try to pry VanVleet from Toronto. But a source familiar with the matter strongly disputes the idea that New York has any offer prepared for VanVleet at the moment.
That said, it makes sense that VanVleet would be on New York’s radar as a potential free agent target.
Depending on where the salary cap lands in the offseason, the Knicks could have as much as $60 million in cap space.
So they will be able to make VanVleet the kind of offer that could prevent Toronto from re-signing him (the Raptors have said that their goal is to retain VanVleet).
The Knicks are probably preparing for dozens of different offseason scenarios involving trades, draft picks and free-agent pursuits.
There are two scenarios that would likely impact their approach on VanVleet.
- If the club traded for Chris Paul, it’s hard to see them also spending the money required to sign VanVleet.
- If they take one of the top point guards in the 2020 NBA Draft, it’s also hard to see them spending the money it would take to acquire VanVleet.
In a big-picture sense, New York has been looking for consistency at the point guard spot for much of the past 20 years.
VanVleet, who went undrafted in 2016, has proven over the past four years that he can give New York – or any other franchise – consistent, high-level output at the point guard position.
I don’t believe VanVleet is New York’s sole focus in the offseason but it makes a ton of sense for the Knicks to consider him in free agency.