For years, many have been wondering if the New York Knicks will pursue an All-Star player with all of their financial flexibility in NBA free agency. Entering this offseason, the Knicks had the ability to pursue some big names once again and they could have freed up a lot of cap space as well, but they ultimately elected to keep their team together while adding Donte DiVincenzo for more backcourt help.
A solid defender who is more than capable of being a spot-up three-point shooter, DiVincenzo should provide immediate depth in the Knicks' backcourt alongside the likes of Jalen Brunson, his former college teammate at Villanova, and potential Sixth Man of the Year candidate, Immanuel Quickley.
Brunson is not the only former teammate DiVincenzo is now reunited with in New York, though, as Josh Hart is another familiar face he has a history with. Hart, Brunson and DiVincenzo were all teammates at Villanova during the 2015-16 NCAA season, a year in which they won the national championship together.
The Knicks are hoping that this bond all three players hold will lead to yet another championship, only this time in the NBA. Recently, Hart acknowledged the type of impact his team's new addition can make and why DiVincenzo has a chance to be a difference-maker in New York.
“He’s a New York style player. That blue-collar, hard work thing – that’s what he does,” Hart said, per SNY's Ian Begley. “He’s going to go defend multiple positions, be tough, be gritty, help us win games. New York is going to love him. He’s definitely a guy that we needed, that we wanted and happy we got.”
While he wants to stay in New York on a new, long-term contract, Hart decided to opt into his $12.9 million player option for the 2023-24 season. This allowed the organization to have more cap flexibility and options in free agency, ultimately leading to them signing DiVincenzo to a four-year, $50 million contract.
This offseason, DiVincenzo drew the attention of several playoff-caliber organizations, but his bond with both Hart and Brunson ultimately led him to signing a contract with New York. In a total of five NBA seasons, he has averaged 9.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while shooting 36.2 percent from three-point range. Just this past season as a member of the Golden State Warriors, DiVincenzo averaged 9.4 points per game and shot 39.7 percent, proving that he is fully healed from a foot injury that left him somewhat limited a couple of years back.
The tandem of Hart and DiVincenzo now gives the Knicks depth out on the perimeter, as well as two strong secondary rebounders. Already one of the best rebounding teams in the league, New York will enter the 2023-24 NBA season as a group that will look to punish their opponents on the glass.