While many are on board with Josh Hart’s recently signed four year $81 million extension, there does seem to be a bit of a split in the fan base with some looking at it as a mistake or a gamble. And those fans have their right to be skeptical or even doubtful of the front office’s decision to extend a player that has clear weaknesses in his game. What cannot be debated though, is New York’s stability going forward. With Hart set to be a Knick for the next five seasons, New York now has a competitive core that is locked in for the long term for the first time in what feels like forever. Sure there have been instances in the past where the team had players signed for two or three years. But most, if not all, of them were either role players or guys entering the twilight of their career.
Entering the upcoming season, the Knicks have two years plus a player option for both Jalen Brunson, and Julius Randle, while Mitchell Robinson is signed for three years, and RJ Barrett, and Donte DiVincenzo are signed for four. Including Hart, that is six players who are now under team control for at least two seasons with many of them in line to be a Knick for longer.
The Knicks have better stability right now than at any other point in the 21st Century. Their current contracts include:— KnicksMuse (@KnicksMuse) August 10, 2023
3 Years Left — Jalen Brunson (option)
3 Years Left — Julius Randle (option)
3 Years Left — Mitchell Robinson
4 Years Left — RJ Barrett
4 Years Left — Donte… pic.twitter.com/YzrtxcmCO3
There are obviously negatives to this. If the team fails to repeat the success it saw last season, this roster could be what the Knicks and their fans are stuck with for years to come. And were they to attempt switching things up, having multiple guys locked up long term could potentially make doing so somewhat difficult. But the hope is that it doesn’t come down to that, and even if it does, those problems could likely still be remedied reasonably easily with the Knicks’ stash of draft picks and collection of young players.
With this kind of newfound stability and consistency in the roster construction, the team should be able to continue building the type of chemistry and connection both on the court and off the court that is so often needed to be an elite team. Now, for the Knicks to take the next step and truly be considered serious championship contenders, they may still need to make another move or two. But with things the way they are, it’s likely that the Knicks have at least put themselves in a position where they have a very high floor and should at lesat be in contention for a playoff spot for the next couple of seasons.
The stability doesn’t just stop with the players either. While Tom Thibodeau is quite the enigma, and the fans’ opinions of him vary, there is no denying that he is as consistent as they come, both in terms of philosophy and demeanor. And with the success that both he and the team enjoyed last season, the consensus is that he’ll be around for the foreseeable future, as well. The same, if not more, can be said about the current front office lead by Leon Rose.
New York may not have the top tier, elite star power that a lot of the fans want, and they may have a few players and a coach that fans can’t get on the same page about, but they do have stability, which is something we could not say about this franchise for most of the last two decades. And it might be a somewhat low bar to set because fanbases of teams like the Nuggets, Bucks, Warriors, and Lakers have enjoyed championships recently, while teams like the Suns, and Celtics have given their fanbases multiple reasons to believe. But Knicks fans are very well aware of just how bad an unstable a franchise with bad leadership and zero direction can be.
We’ve seen so many teams, including our very own one, be riddled with ineptitude from the top down, leading to horrendous contracts, bad drafting, losing seasons, and an overall stench of failure. This doesn’t mean that Knicks fans can’t hope for, or even expect more and better. In fact, they one hundred percent should demand better because they’ve had to deal with constant losing for the better part of the last twenty years. But this team finally seems to be headed into the right direction, one of sustained success, so maybe we just all need to be a little grateful, and continue being patient even if it’s still not the perfect roster or franchise.