According to a Shams Charania (The Athletic) report, the New York Knicks have signed forward DaQuan Jeffries to a pre-season deal at the minimum salary. Jeffries will join the Knicks training camp, spend the next few weeks with the organization, and take part in pre-season games.
DaQuan Jeffries first established a connection with the New York franchise earlier this summer while playing for the Knicks in the Las Vegas Summer League, mostly coming off the bench. Jeffries was part of the team that reached the SL Final but ultimately lost to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Jeffries was a solid, five-game contributor to the Knicks’ run in Las Vegas. Jeffries logged more than 100 minutes in the tournament hitting 10+ points in a couple of his games and posting an average per-game line of 8.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.0 APG, and 0.8 BPG. He made the top-five in points, boards, and swats among Knicks players back in the July tourney.
While not the player most Knicks fans wanted and would have loved to welcome to NYC after a long summer of made-up nonsense and rumors, the addition of Jeffries might ramp up interest about the franchise’s dealings, at least leading up to the regular season.
No, Jeffries won’t be a game-changing addition to the team. What Jeffries will be is one of five men fighting for the final two still-open regular-season roster spots. The other four are two-way Knicks Feron Hunt and Trevor Keels, and Exhibit 10 men Jean Montero and Garrison Brooks. Players on an E10 deal are linked to organizations at a minimum salary until the start of the regular season, when they have to either be let go or extended to two-way contracts.
Jeffries is the only player of the three inked to Exhibit 10 contracts that comes with professional experience, having played NBA ball in the past few years. Montero and Brooks are hoping to make it to the Association for the first time.
The freshest Knick, Jeffries has already played for three other NBA franchises in Sacramento, Houston, and Memphis after going undrafted in the 2019 rookie class. Actually, Jeffries kicked off his relationship with the NBA by signing a similar deal to the one he inked yesterday with New York—only for the Orlando Magic, who waived him right before the regular season started. Sacramento claimed the forward on waivers, signing Jeffries to a two-way contract and then extending him one year later to a multi-year deal (November 2020).
Jeffries didn’t stick in California, though. He found himself in Houston after getting waived by Sactown, and then signed with the Rockets in April 2021, where he spent a month. Jeffries’s last playing stint took place in Memphis last January, thanks to a 10-day contract offered by the Grizzlies after Atlanta signed-then-waived him in October 2021.
Looking at his short yet eventful career to date, Jeffries has logged 47 appearances in the NBA with five games in a starting lineup—all in the 2020-2021 season, twice in Sacramento, and thrice in Houston. Jeffries played three games last season in Memphis, where he averaged a measly 3.0 MPG and an understandably low 0.7 PPG, 0.7 RPG, 0.3 APG per-game line.
From a career-wide angle, though, Jeffries has averaged 3.8 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.4 SPG, and 0.2 BPG in his 47 games played, with an average of 13.7 MPG. Pro-rated to a per-36-minute basis, Jeffries would be averaging nearly a 10-5-1-1 line.
Jeffries has also played in the G League, where his numbers on a per-game basis have been really close to those fabricated per-36 averages. In 16 games at that level last year, and with an average of 25.0 MPG of playing time, Jeffries put up a solid 14.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.9 APG, and 1.0 SPG to go with his 0.6 BPG. He also appeared in 27 games in the 2019-20 season, when he achieved a 16-7-1-1 per-game line before making it to the NBA.
The Edmond, OK native can play the two and three positions. The Knicks have 15 players under contract, with 13 of them on guaranteed deals and two more (Feron Hunt and Trevor Keels) on two-way contracts. Those two final regular-season open spots will be filled by two of the five: Hunt, Keels, Jeffries, Montero, and Brooks. Obviously, the first two should have the easier path to making the cut, having spent time with the Knicks before (Hunt) and having been selected early in the second round of this year’s draft (Keels).
The Knicks will tip off their pre-season on October 4, when they will host the Detroit Pistons at 7:30 pm. New York will have four games of preparation ahead of the regular season: three home against Detroit, Indiana, and Washington, and one at Indiana. The organization will have to submit its final roster to the NBA before the season starts on October 18, with the Knicks making their 2022-2023 debut a day later, facing the Grizzlies in Memphis.