Signing as an undrafted free agent instead of being a late second-round pick might sound like a disappointment to some, but it was apparently the preferred route for Allonzo Trier.
Trier wanted to land with a team he fit well with, and he believed going undrafted was the best way to make that happen after the New York Knicks exhausted their final pick on Mitchell Robinson at No. 36 overall.
“It was a team that was really high on me already,” said Trier, who signed with the Knicks shortly after the NBA Draft concluded (via the Daily Wildcat).
“But even before I worked out for them, we were in real communication with them, and we really thought I was going to be the pick at 36. It was looking like that was what was going to happen, and then a guy like Mitch Robinson falls to 36 and the priority for the team was ‘big first’ so they went with him. Totally understandable.
“And then I had a chance to be picked from about 41 and on and they were all places that I didn’t think were a great fit, so we turned down pretty much everybody after that and decided that we were going to go with the Knicks because it was the best fit for me in the first place.”
Trier signed a two-way contract with the Knicks, which guarantees him $77,250 in his rookie season and potentially up to $385,000, as he splits time between the G League and NBA. (He can be on the NBA roster for up to 45 days.)
The truth is, it’s possible he would have signed the same kind of deal if he had been drafted.
Colorado’s George King and UCLA’s Thomas Welsh — who were picked at the tail-end of the second-round — also inked two-way contracts. So did Kadeem Allen, who was selected by the Celtics in the second round in 2017.
And considering Trier is starting for the Knicks’ Summer League team, and is in an organization that is in serious need of young talent, it’s easy to see why he felt New York was the best possible destination. Now he just has to make the most of the opportunity.
“Coach (David Fizdale) was really high on me,” said Trier, who scored 15 points in his Summer League debut. “It was just a great staff. … We just thought it was going to be a great place to come in and start my journey to the NBA. So instead of hearing my name called on draft night … I decided to hold off and go to a place that fits me right.”