The New York Knicks have desperately tried to get back into the NBA playoffs over the past few seasons, having missed it for 7 straight years now. The front office hasn't managed to draft well in recent history, and when they did do so by picking Kristaps Porzingis, they failed to keep the Latvian at the Madison Square Garden. Many NBA trade rumors have linked the Knicks with high-profile free agents but they haven't managed to deliver any so far.
One of the latest additions to that list of targetted free agents is Toronto Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet. The 26-year-old was one of the most improved players in the NBA this season and has only grown as a player since breaking into the limelight in the 2019 finals.
Fred VanVleet is one of the better players in the league in his position, and the New York Knicks are thought to be huge admirers. If NBA trade rumors are to be believed, they are willing to pay him handsomely if he agrees to join.
NBA Trade Rumors - New York Knicks willing to go all-in for Fred VanVleet
Fred VanVleet had a career year in 2019-20 as he averaged 17.6 points per game to go with 6.6 assists and 1.9 steals. He also shot an impressive 39% from three-point range on almost 7 attempts. To say he would be an upgrade over the New York Knicks' current starting point guard - Elfrid Payton - would be an understatement.
26-year-old Payton only averaged 10 points per game in 2019-20 on barely 20% shooting from beyond the arc. A member of the 2014-15 All-Rookie team, Payton's greatest strength is in his playmaking. He dropped 7.2 dimes each game last season and has averaged 6.6 throughout his career - significantly more than VanVleet's 4.1 assists.
However, Payton's lack of scoring has held his value back as an NBA player, and one wouldn't blame the New York Knicks for wanting to make a splash for Fred VanVleet this off-season.
NBA Trade Rumors - New York Knicks willing to make Fred VanVleet their highest-paid player
The New York Knicks desperately want a big name to arrive at the Madison Square Garden to potentially revive the franchise. While Fred VanVleet is far from a superstar, he could make the team a better landing spot for future free agents, and the New York Knicks are willing to invest on that.
They are prepared to spend over $22 million per year to convince the 6'1" guard to join them. Fred VanVleet earns less than $10 million right now and will be looking to secure his bag this off-season.
The New York Knicks' humongous contract offer is likely to beat other pursuers of Fred VanVleet's signature. However, if VanVleet is intent on joining a team that are more likely to challenge for the NBA title, even that huge offer could fall short.
Published 17 Sep 2020, 11:39 IST