Last Friday, the New York Knicks were extremely busy as they signed forwards Nigel Hayes, Jamel Artis and guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes to partially-guaranteed deals. These signings pushes the Knicks training camp roster to nineteen players if you factor in Luke Kornet who is under a two-way deal. . That situation means that Hayes, Artis and Rathan-Mayes should head to the G League to play with the Westchester Knicks after the conclusion of training camp.
Although that scenario hasn’t changed since that initial signing, we have recently learned some new info regarding the trio. On Monday afternoon, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweeted out that Hayes’ training camp deal will be worth $50k, which would hit the Knicks’ cap if/when he gets released.
Coinciding with that, Marks noted that Hayes won’t have an Exhibit 10 protection which means that he’s not eligible to get a two-way deal. From my perspective, it looks like Hayes’ agent sensed that the undrafted forward probably wouldn’t be in the running to get a two-way deal, so he just wants him to get some money before he plays in the G League for up to $26k.
On the other hand, Rathan-Mayes and Artis will have to wait until they’re able to get that $50k bonus. To receive that, each player would have to be waived by the Knicks and spend 60 days with Westchester.
They’ll have an opportunity to potentially make even more money than Hayes as they both have Exhibit 10 protection in their contracts. That Exhibit 10 protection means that either Rathan-Mayes or Artis could have their current contracts transferred into two-way deals. However, they’re going to have to compete as the Knicks only have one two-way deal left to offer after they signed Luke Kornet back in early July.
Pending injury, I feel like Artis stands as the heavy favorite to capture that two-way deal. No disrespect should be meant to Rathan-Mayes as he was a solid player for Florida State as he he put up 10.6 points and 4.8 assists per game on 42% from the field. However, the 6’7 Artis just stands as a more intriguing player that can fit a variety of roles from being versatile skill-set from being a 3-and-D threat to working as a point forward.
That first factor is evident from him shooting 39% from beyond the arc on 5.9 perimeter attempts per game, which allowed him to be one of the best shooting forwards in the ACC. Meanwhile, Artis definitely stands as a solid facilitator for a 6’7 forward as he averaged 3.3 assists per game with a 1.3 Ast/TO ratio. While those might not be the most attractive numbers, its definitely good for someone that spends the majority of his time as a front-court player. Coinciding with those traits, Artis stands as a player that can work in the low-post while also being able to drive to the paint.