Kathy Willens/Associated Press
We don’t yet have a time frame for when the NBA will return to action but it will. The offseason won’t be too far behind, and with it, of course, will come free agency.
For some teams, free agency will be about maintaining or even improving playoff-caliber rosters. For others, it will provide a chance to assemble a contender. For yet others, free agency will represent the early stages of a rebuild. No matter the game plan, it’s the players who will be at the center of each offseason strategy.
One man who could be a key piece of several offseason strategies is New York Knicks guard Damyean Dotson.
Though largely seen as a mere role-player—he’s averaged just under 11 minutes per game this season—the 25-year-old is still developing.
“He’s a game shooter and improved his handle and as a finisher,” former Knicks coach David Fizdale said, per Marc Berman of the New York Post. “He’s a good rebounding guard, but he still has to improve defensive awareness on the weak side. Overall he’s a solid NBA player.”
Dotson could well have a long and bright career in front of him, but it isn’t likely to unfold in New York. According to Berman, other franchises are eying him for the upcoming edition of free agency.
“According to NBA sources, three prominent organizations—the Jazz, Bucks and Warriors—are expected to show some interest in Dotson, who made $1.6 million this season as a “3-and-D’’ prototype,” he wrote.
As a solid bench option—and an affordable one—Dotson should have little trouble landing with a contender. His ability to play sound defense and from beyond the arc with some consistency would make him a natural fit for the Golden State Warriors, who should have Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry both at 100 percent next season.
Prediction: Dotson won’t be back with the Knicks.
Knicks Eying Shooters
Matt Slocum/Associated Press
Curiously, while the Knicks are likely to move on from Dotson—who has shot 42 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from 3-point range in his career—they are considering shooters in free agency. The plan, it seems, is to support rookie RJ Barrett and second-year man Mitchell Robinson.
“According to SNY Insider Ian Begley, others still in the Knicks organization feel that it’s important to add someone in the backcourt who can shoot to best complement Barrett, per sources,” SNY’s Alex Smith wrote.
Fizdale had a similar sentiment during an interview with ESPN Radio (h/t Smith):
“Just looking at the roster where they’re at—I love Elfrid (Payton), Frank (Ntilikina) and Dennis Smith Jr.—but all of them have something in common in that they’re not consistent 3-point shooters coming off the pick-and-roll. And if you have a super talent like Mitchell—and I think Mitchell can end up being one of the best centers over the next 10 years—you have to have a guy coming off that pick and if you have to fight over that pick and roll.”
If continuing to develop Dotson isn’t an option—and it appears not to be—then the Knicks may go after guys such as Joe Harris and Alec Burks in free agency.
However, given the Knicks’ recent struggles attracting a top shooter may be difficult, and Harris is eager to re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post.
Prediction: Knicks let Dotson walk, replace him with a second-tier free agent.
Harris, Hayward Likely to be Back with Respective Teams
Though it’s not entirely up to him, Harris is interested in returning to the Nets in order to play with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
“Yeah, definitely! Why wouldn’t you?” Harris said, per Lewis.
Making it financially work is another story. With Irving and Durant’s salaries on the books for Brooklyn, Harris will likely stand to make substantially more money on the open market. The question is whether he’ll take less to chase a title.
Meanwhile, Gordon Hayward is likely to opt in for the 2020-21 season rather than sign a long-term extension, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com.
“It’s too much money to pass up,” one general manager said, per Deveney. “He could get a longer deal if that is what he really wants. But I don’t think the Celtics want to give it to him, they have a lot of young guys to pay and the starting (salary) number on whatever the contract is will not be close to $34 million.”
By opting in for one year, Hayward stands to make a lot of upfront money while still getting a shot at that lucrative long-term deal in 2021. He will be 31 next offseason.
Prediction: Hayward opts in with Boston, Harris re-signs with Brooklyn.