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Rejoice! The Knicks’ free agent deals aren’t as long as we thought

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Non-guaranteed years and team options, baby!

New York Knicks v Atlanta Hawks - Game Four Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images

When the word got out Monday that the New York Knicks were bringing back veterans Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel and Derrick Rose on multi-year deals, the reaction around the NBA was a bit rough. Many Knicks fans were shocked and appalled that the club would go to three years on each player.

Sure, each player was instrumental in New York’s surprising run to the playoffs last season, but Rose will be 33 at the start of next season, with a lengthy injury history, and the market for a non-elite big like Noel probably didn’t warrant three years.

Meanwhile, the Knicks haters across social media had themselves a nice, hearty “LOL Knicks.”

Well you can feel a whole lot better, Knicks fans, because those contracts probably won’t last the full three years. Per Ian Begley:

All of the contracts agreed to on Monday were not fully guaranteed in the final season, SNY has learned (immediately after the Burks deal was agreed upon, SNY reported that it would be fully guaranteed. We regret the error).

So the Knicks will have flexibility on the Noel, Rose and Burks deals entering the 2023-24 season. Fournier has a team option in the fourth year of his deal.

What a relief! Maintaining continuity is one thing, but locking up a group of vets who all overachieved last year isn’t the best way to improve over the long term. Now the three players are basically signed to two-year deals, with some guaranteed money left over. The front office can reload in the summer of 2023 or, if they decide to make a big trade before then, they have a bunch of shorter contracts, which are easier to move.

Given some of the wild deals we saw other teams make in free agency, perhaps getting the band back together—with the addition of a quality scorer in Evan Fournier—really was the wisest move.