Each offseason is an opportunity for NBA teams to find some diamonds in the rough, but sometimes no matter how hard you dig, there’s only dirt.
The Knicks have reshaped their roster this summer, although not quite in the way people were expecting, and in the process the team has chosen to set free a number of players that were acquired over the last few years. Let’s give them their proper goodbyes.
The Knicks acquired Mudiay in February 2018, not long after another former Knick named Kristaps Porzingis tore his ACL. The Knicks gave up Doug McDermott and a 2018 second round pick as part of the three-team trade that netted Mudiay.
“We welcome Emmanuel to New York and are excited to add this talented player to our roster,” Scott Perry said in a statement at the time. “He is a young, athletic guard who we feel will be a valuable addition to the Knicks moving forward.”
The Knicks didn’t do very much moving forward with Mudiay at the helm, as the team put its mark on the 2018-19 season by tying the worst record in franchise history while sitting at the very bottom on the NBA standings.
Mudiay, still only 23-years-old, just signed a one-year deal with the Utah Jazz, where he’ll fight for minutes on a team that looks like a legitimate contender next season.
As @espn_macmahon says, Mudiay's development stands to continue an upward trajectory with coach Quin Snyder and Mike Conley Jr. The Jazz program is significant reason why Mudiay's agent, BJ Armstrong, believed Utah's such a good fit for his 23-year-old client. https://t.co/0QMQmMVXVC— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 3, 2019
Overall, Mudiay’s Knicks stats are as follows: 81 games over two seasons, 13.2 points per game (43% shooting, 30.5% from three), 3.9 assists and 3.1 rebounds. Last year alone he averaged almost 15 points a game!
This was probably his best game as a Knickerbocker:
Mudiay was okay, but mostly quite frustrating. He took minutes from Frank Ntilikina. Fizdale said he was going to get Mudiay “right,” but he meant to say “right off the Knicks.”
We wish him well in Utah.
Vonleh, the 9th overall pick in 2014, was signed by the Knicks last July as part of the team’s quest to employ, at least for a little while, every single player selected somewhat early in recent drafts.
An unknown at first, Vonleh was ultimately one of the best performers during last year’s stinkfest. He displayed an impressive ability to rebound and then dribble the ball up the court without immediately turning it over, which earned him a legion of Knicks fans for life.
In total, Vonleh posted 8.4 points and 7.8 rebounds in 25 minutes per contest in 68 games with the Knicks; career bests all around. He became hampered by an ankle injury late in the season, and apparently also became forgotten by the front office.
Vonleh will play for the Minnesota Timberwolves next season, and according to The Athletic he’ll make about $2 million.
The Timberwolves have agreed to terms with Noah Vonleh on a one-year deal, league sources tell @TheAthleticMIN— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) July 2, 2019
The Knicks just dolled out $114 million combined to power forwards Julius Randle, Taj Gibson and Bobby Portis, so it seems like they could have kept Vonleh on a reasonable deal, but actively decided to go another direction. Interesting!
Good luck, Noah. You’re the good Noah. And yes, Joakim is the bad Noah.
Kornet has been with the Knicks for a couple of years now, initially spending time in Westchester before getting called up to the big leagues last season.
“Luke is a versatile player who can play inside and away from the basket,” Perry said in a statement when the Knicks brought him up last summer. “He brings a relentless work ethic and commitment to the team that fits with Coach Fizdale’s system and style.”
Perhaps Fizdale is planning to change his system and/or style, because the Knicks allowed the Chicago Bulls to snag the 7’1” three point marksman this offseason. Kornet has actually been fairly dominant against the Bulls, so it makes sense that they paid him to not play against them anymore. The Bulls have locked him up for two years.
In 66 total games with the Knicks over two seasons, Kornet averaged 17 minutes of gameplay, 6.9 points (38% shooting, 36% from three), 3 rebounds, and almost 1 block.
Kornet has some intriguing features for a big man, but we’re better off watching how his career progresses from afar.
When Perry worked for the Orlando Magic, he picked Hezonja with the 5th selection in the 2015 draft. A few years later, he decided to bring Hezonja to the Big Apple.
“Mario is an extremely talented, multi-dimensional player who we’re excited to have join the Knicks,” Perry said when the Knicks signed Hezonja. “With Mario, we’re adding another young, athletic and driven player. We’re confident he will further develop under this coaching staff and excel playing in New York.”
That confidence was misplaced. Hezonja was yanked in and out of the lineup all year by Fizdale, finishing with 58 games played, 8.8 points (41% from the field, 27.6% from three), 4.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1 steal per contest.
Overall, he was fairly frustrating. The guy appeared to have some serious skills, but they would only appear sparingly, and when things weren’t clicking, he was mostly a net negative.
However, he performed perhaps the most important play in recent Knicks history, and for that we are forever grateful.
Hezonja will join the Portland Trail Blazers next season, becoming the latest ex-Knick to go somewhere he has a chance of actually winning. Woj spelled his name wrong when announcing the signing, which is totally not cool.
Woj my name is Mario Hezonja, we did this last year cmon bro!!— Super Mario (@mariohezonja) July 1, 2019
Farewell, Super Mario.
Jordan came to New York as part of the Porzingis trade, and exits the Knicks as a traitor.
Mitchell Robinson, who studied under Jordan’s tutelage during the second half of last season, will eat him alive when the Knicks play the Brooklyn Nets.