Arron Afflalo, Derrick Williams have told the Knicks that they will not opt in to their contracts for 2016-17, per league sources.
- Ian Begley (@IanBegley) June 21, 2016
Arron Afflalo and Derrick Williams have both told the Knicks they will not opt in to their contracts for the 2016-17 season, according to Ian Begley of ESPN NY.
Afflalo was set to receive $8 million this upcoming season from the Knicks, but will now be an unrestricted free agent.
Williams would have received $4.6 million from the Knicks this season, but also will now be an unrestricted free agent. Both Williams and the Knicks have a mutual interest in one another, according to the New York Post's Marc Berman, though the Los Angeles Lakers are expected to make a run at him.
The Knicks will now have more $30 million in cap space this offseason.
Mike Scotto of Sheridan Hoops was the first to report Afflalo's opt out.
Afflalo and Williams both opting out was to be expected.
They both signed extremely reasonable deals last summer. Afflalo started the season off rather well, quickly establishing himself as a consistent and reliable number two option on offense. But the emergence of Kristaps Porzingis, coupled with Kurt Rambis' preference to bring him off the bench as well, led to tension among the ranks.
Afflalo could not have been happy with the lesser role and fewer minutes. Thus, he's opting out and it's unknown whether or not he'll return. At this point, it would appear unlikely. He still stands to command a respectable contract. He could price himself out of the Knicks' market.
On the other hand, Williams is someone New York should aggressively pursue to come back. Williams steadily established himself as quite the offensive spark plug off the bench. He can score in bunches and feeds off the Garden crowd. He adds excitement, and should be able to return for a modest rate. The Knicks can prioritize their free agent targets, aim to fill evident holes, and still bring Williams back.
Little surprise here as most of us expected both to test the waters. I'm told some of the Knicks internally are especially happy about Afflalo, whose constant attempts to take over games down the stretch hurt certain younger players development.
Both could still return to the team, especially Williams, who thrived as the team's energy player off the bench. Ironically, it's ex-Knick Iman Shumpert's contract that set the market for perimeter players last year. Shump's 4 year $40 million dollar deal is seen as a barometer for lower tier perimeter players. Both players opting out opens up some $30 million for the Knicks to spend and it's clear that they will look to upgrade the point guard and wing spots. Basically, Phil needs to match the backcourt with what he was able to pull off with the front court last year.