A source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post that DeMar DeRozan would have signed with the Knicks instead of the Bulls last summer if New York had matched Chicago’s contract offer. The Bulls inked DeRozan to a three-year, $81.9MM deal via sign-and-trade.
DeRozan’s top choice was the Lakers, but the team never made him a formal offer, the source tells Berman. Nor did the Knicks.
GM Scott Perry was interested in DeRozan, but president Leon Rose and executive VP William Wesley were sold on Evan Fournier. Perry believed that signing DeRozan could have led to Damian Lillard down the line, as the two stars are close friends, Berman relays. Obviously, the Knicks ultimately acquired Fournier.
Here’s more from New York:
- The return of Derrick Rose could provide a needed boost to the struggling Knicks, writes Steve Popper of Newsday. “When you look at Derrick when he’s on the floor and you look at the plus-minus of the players, he impacts it in a very positive way,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “And he’s always been that way. Because he gives you the transition game, he gives you the pick-and-roll game, he can play on the ball, he can play off the ball, so it adds a lot to our team.”
- In Zach Lowe’s latest ’10 things’ column for ESPN (Insider link), he writes that New York’s starting unit has been a disaster all season, and has been outscored by 14 points per 100 possessions, one of the worst marks in the league. He points to Kemba Walker, Fournier, and Julius Randle as the weak links on defense, with Randle’s regression from last season being especially disappointing. Lowe says to “expect everything to be on the table for the Knicks in the summer.”
- In a separate article for The New York Post, Berman explores what the hiring of Gersson Rosas means for the Knicks’ front office. Rosas has multiple ties to the organization, Berman notes, as he shares the same agent as Thibodeau from Creative Artists Agency. Rose was a longtime agent at CAA prior to becoming the Knicks’ president. Rosas and Thibodeau also worked together for several years in Houston.