The New York Knicks have fortified their bench by agreeing to re-sign combo forward Lance Thomas, according to Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. The deal will be for four years and just over $27 million, based on this tweet from ESPN New York's Ian Begley.
Thomas blossomed last season after bouncing around the fringes of the basketball world in his first few years. A two-year stint in the NBA Developmental League led to a brief cup of coffee with New Orleans. He went to China for a year, then resurfaced with the Oklahoma City Thunder before coming to the Knicks as a throw-in to the deal that sent J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to Cleveland.
After a solid end of the season with a dreadful Knicks team in 2014-15, Thomas grew his game and emerged as a key player under both Derek Fisher and Kurt Rambis. Thomas dramatically improved his three-point stroke, played excellent defense and functioned as the additional wing player in smaller lineups with Carmelo Anthony at power forward. Thomas averaged eight points and two rebounds per game in 22.3 minutes per contest.
He should again be a key bench piece for new coach Jeff Hornacek, especially when the Knicks elect to put Kristaps Porzingis at center. The Knicks were able to use Early Bird Rights to give Thomas that contract, which preserved enough cap space to also sign Brandon Jennings to back up Derrick Rose.