Free agency will kick off in less than two weeks and the salary cap is expected to remain the same as it was last year, according to ESPN, meaning the days of hypothesizing what the Leon Rose regime might do are over. It’s officially go time.
That’s right, the NBA and its players’ union have come to terms on a number of issues pertinent to the Knicks, including a Nov. 20 start for free agency and a roughly $109 million salary cap, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim Bontemps. Technically, this means teams can initiate talks with free agents at 6 pm on Friday, Nov. 20, with actual signings allowed beginning on Sunday, Nov. 22.
That’s, uh, soon!
The NBA and NBPA have reached agreement on an amended CBA, sources tell @TimBontemps and me. Free agency begins at 6 PM on Nov. 20, with signings allowed at 12:01 PM on Nov. 22.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 10, 2020
This comes on the heels of a broader agreement between the NBA and the NBPA. Next season will begin on Tuesday, Dec. 22, and feature only 72 games per team, down from the usual 82.
Ready to hoop again.— Bobby BP Portis (@BPortistime) November 10, 2020
The salary cap, meanwhile, will be set at $109.1 million despite a dip in NBA revenue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
This all means that the Rose-led front office has precious little time to finalize their plans. Hopefully they’ve been using the long break to prepare, and weren’t caught completely off guard by the news.
*No indication yet of when teams have to decide on options/guarantees, but it would be logical to guess that date would be ~Nov. 19, just before FA begins— Knicks Film School (@KnickSchool) November 10, 2020
As previously noted, we have no idea what the Knicks are going to do. There are as many as eight Knicks players who could be free agents if the team chooses not to pick up any options: Bobby Portis, Maurice Harkless, Taj Gibson, Elfrid Payton, Wayne Ellington, Reggie Bullock, Damyean Dotson and recently signed Theo Pinson.
For months now, it’s been on us to speculate. We’ve been allowed to pick and choose which of those players should be retained (Gibson, Ellington and Dotson should; Pinson probably should since he hasn’t even been given a chance to play for the Knicks yet; Bullock, Portis and Harkless maybe should; let Payton go, please). Those days are over, though. It’s Leon’s time to shine.
The last time free agency launched, we quickly found out that an entire year’s worth of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving-related free agency bluster was just a bunch of blabber. In the time since, it’s been an unprecedented period of uncertainty for the Knicks, which were horrific to start last year and looked better in the second half of the season but missed out on the bubble. This time around, no one seems to have any clue what the Knicks are really thinking.
Will they make any significant moves in free agency? Will they trade for Chris Paul or Russell Westbrook? Will they stand pat and try to build around RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson? Will Frank Ntilikina receive more than 21 minutes per game next season? Is Dennis Smith Jr. going to suddenly play with confidence and competence? Does the team realize Dotson has been on the roster this whole time?
In less than two weeks, the answers to some of those questions will finally start to become clear.