There’s still some loyalty in the NBA. According to SB Nation, the New York Knicks are signing Lance Thomas to a four-year contract worth $27 million. While that seems like a lot of money for a player that was forced to accept ten-day contracts, it’s actually much less than what Thomas could have commanded with the higher salary cap.
Though the New York Knicks do not own the full Bird Rights to Lance Thomas, they do own the Early Bird Rights. That means that the Knicks can still utilize their remaining cap space to lure in other NBA players in free agency before they lock up Thomas.
In the NBA, “three and D” players are becoming more and more valuable because they can help lock down opponents and can spread the floor on offense. Lance Thomas happens to be one of those players. He shot better than 40 percent from the three-point line and proved that he was capable of defending small forwards and power forwards capably.
— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) July 5, 2016
According to ESPN, the New York Knicks acquired Lance Thomas from the Oklahoma City Thunder during a three-team trade that saw Iman Shumpert and JR Smith join the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both players have done a tremendous job in helping the Cavaliers become NBA Champions.
When the trade was first made, Lance Thomas was considered an afterthought by many fans in the NBA. Many were not aware of how hard of a worker that Thomas was. The 6’8″, 230-pound forward worked hard to become a better defender and shooter, so much that the New York Knicks considered him a priority in free agency.
Lance Thomas had generated some interest from other NBA teams during free agency, but he wanted to remain loyal to the New York Knicks because he feels that the team gave him the best chance to succeed.
According to the New York Post, Lance Thomas took less money to stay with the New York Knicks. After trying so hard to remain in the NBA, Thomas feels that he finally has a home with the Knicks.
The Los Angeles Clippers reportedly were willing to pay Lance Thomas more money than the New York Knicks could afford to spend. They really wanted to bolster their bench with a versatile player like Thomas. However, the former Duke Blue Devils star really felt that there was something special being put together by the Knicks.
It also didn’t hurt the New York Knicks that Lance Thomas is from nearby Brooklyn. This is like playing at home for him. The Big Apple background has enabled Thomas to form a very strong bond with Carmelo Anthony. Thomas is the primary backup for Anthony.
Lance Thomas will be returning to a much different bench squad than what he was accustomed to last season. According to the New York Times, the New York Knicks are signing Brandon Jennings to a one-year contract worth $5 million. Jennings should be the primary backup to Derrick Rose, who was acquired in a trade with the Chicago Bulls earlier in the offseason.
The New York Knicks have been rather busy this summer. In addition to the trade for Derrick Rose, team president Phil Jackson also acquired new starters in Courtney Lee and Joakim Noah, who will start at shooting guard and center.
Much has changed with the New York Knicks. One of the good things that will remain the same is that the team will have a very reliable and very solid backup forward in Lance Thomas coming off the bench.
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