The Knicks have competition for their top free-agent target. And another one quickly signed elsewhere.
Donte DiVincenzo, the 26-year-old guard, scheduled four free-agent meetings with interested teams Thursday and Friday, a source confirmed to the Daily News. Although the hosting teams were unknown as of Thursday evening, the Knicks are considered frontrunners to sign DiVincenzo, who won two NCAA titles alongside Jalen Brunson.
Recreating the Villanova backcourt is enticing for all parties. It would be a minor surprise, at this point, if the Knicks finish free agency without a DiVincenzo agreement.
Bruce Brown had scheduled a meeting with the Knicks, according to SNY, but opted for Indiana’s money just after the free agency moratorium began. Brown and the Pacers agreed to a two-year, $45 million, according to ESPN, which the Knicks had no hope of matching. Team president Leon Rose only has access to the mid-level exception — roughly $12.4 million per season — because the Knicks are over the cap with big contracts doled out to Brunson, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, Evan Fournier and Mitchell Robinson.
Brown, a 26-year-old wing who boosted his value after winning a title last season with the Nuggets, represents a stain on the decision-makers in Brooklyn, who allowed him to walk in the 2022 free agency. Brown hinted that Nets players — who at that time included Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving — didn’t want him back.
DiVincenzo played 72 games last season with the Warriors while averaging 9.4 points and shooting 44%. He won a title with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021 but didn’t play in the final three rounds because of an ankle injury.
DiVincenzo would command most, if not all, of New York’s mid-level exception if he agrees to sign. New York’s other options include Torrey Craig, Max Strus and others. One potential option — forward Georges Niang — agreed to a three-year, $26 million deal, his agent said. That’s considerably less annually than the mid-level exception, which the Knicks can break up to sign multiple players.
The Knicks created access to the full midlevel exception — as opposed to the lesser taxpayer exception — after Josh Hart opted into his $12.9 million contract for next season. The expectation is Hart agrees to a more lucrative contract when he becomes eligible for an extension in August.
Source: Berkshire mont