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Report: Knicks will pursue Fred VanVleet, but don’t already have offer ready

Fred VanVleet, Raptors, Knicks

The New York Knicks plan to pursue Toronto Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet this offseason once the free agency period begins.

However, according to Ian Begley of SNY TV, the Knicks don’t already have an offer ready to throw at VanVleet despite reports saying New York is prepared to pay the Raptors guard $20 million a year.

League sources say that Fred VanVleet is indeed among the free agent options under consideration by New York. I don’t know how strong the Knicks’ interest in VanVleet is, but there was one report about New York preparing an offer of more than $20 million per season for the point guard.

Clearly, that’s the kind of offer a team would need to make to try to pry VanVleet from Toronto. But a source familiar with the matter strongly disputes the idea that New York has any offer prepared for VanVleet at the moment.

VanVleet averaged 17.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game for the Raptors in 2019-20 while shooting 41.3 percent from the field, 39.0 percent from beyond the arc and 84.8 percent from the free-throw line. That’s the type of production the Knicks would love to get from their starting point guard.

However, to get VanVleet, the Knicks may have to overpay the Rockford, Illinois native since the Raptors are probably going to give him whatever deal he wants.

Toronto All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry is getting older and only has one year left on his deal. The Raptors were also the organization that helped VanVleet develop into an All-Star-type player, so it would be devastating for the franchise if they lost him to the Knicks.

The Knicks are under new leadership in Leon Rose and Tom Thibodeau. New York could possibly have as much as $60 million in cap space this offseason, but that all depends on what the NBA salary cap will be. Most league insiders expect the salary cap to drop due to the COVID-19 hiatus.

The Knicks haven’t made the playoffs since the 2012-13 season. The fans in New York are praying Rose and Thibs can bring the franchise back to prominence.