The New York Knicks have secured the services of free agent Dylan Windler—a 26-year-old wing formerly of the Cleveland Cavaliers and more known for his injuries than anything else—inking him to a two-way contract.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN first broke the news, later echoed by multiple other outlets on Monday, July 24.
Free agent G/F Dylan Windler has agreed on a two-way contract with the New York Knicks, agents Andy Shiffman and Mark Bartelstein of @PrioritySports tell ESPN. Windler was the 26th overall pick to Cleveland in the 2019 NBA Draft.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 24, 2023
To make room for the Windler, the Knicks have reportedly decided to waive 2022 draft pick Trevor Keels, who was New York’s lone rookie selection in the last two seasons.
However, there is a possibility that Keels could return to the organization, as they still retain his G League rights, as reported by Fred Katz of The Athletic.
The Knicks plan to waive Trevor Keels to make room for Dylan Windler, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA. Knicks drafted Keels in the second round last summer. They retain his G League rights for the upcoming season.— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) July 25, 2023
The new CBA softened the two-way-deal rules a bit in their latest iteration, opening an extra slot and thus going from two to three such deals per team.
Fred Katz pointed this out on July 21 by mentioning that the Knicks extended a qualifying offer to Duane Washington Jr., who was on a two-way contract at the end of the 2022–23 season, which Washington later accepted on Monday, with the Knicks following that by waiving him. New York will still need to release another player in order to accommodate Windler.
Speaking of Windler, he’s a 6-6 guard and former first-rounder (2019 draft, 26th-overall pick) with three years of experience in the Association (he didn’t log a game in the 2019-20 season, his first one after getting drafted). He’s spent his whole career with the Cavaliers.
The 26-year-old has shown promise as a spot-up 3-point shooter with some defensive chops to go with that, and despite having his career semi-derailed by a steady stream of injury setbacks, there is still considerable potential and upside attached to his name.
Windler missed his rookie season with a leg injury, and in the last three campaigns, he’s appeared in 84 games combined. Things look even worse if you check what he did last year alone: played three games, injured an ankle, and was done for the season. Uh, oh.
The former Cavalier played one postseason game with the G League affiliate of the team last season, logging 35 minutes and finishing with 19 points, eight boards, and one dime in that sole game. In the regular season, Windler appeared in 11 games starting two of them and posting averages of 12.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG, and 1.1 APG to go with .523/.407/.719 shooting splits on 7.8 FGA and 4.9 3PA per game.
Cleveland drafted Windler coming out of Belmont, where he played a full four-season collegiate career. In 128 games with the Bruins, Windler posted shooting averages of 54.1% from the floor and 40.6% from three-point range. His senior season finished with Windler averaging 21.3 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 1.4 SPG and splits reading .540/.429/.847 on 13.6 FGA and 7.1 3PA a pop.
Entering Monday, the Knicks had the maximum three players on two-way contracts—Nathan Knight, Jaylen Martin, and Trevor Keels—so they had to cut someone to make room for Windler. The organization parted ways with Keels, who played as many games as Windler last season—three.
Right now, the Knicks have 12 players on guaranteed contracts and two players—Isaiah Roby and DaQuan Jeffries—on non-guaranteed contracts. The NBA allows teams to carry up to 15 players on the roster, plus three two-way players.