KEY POINTS

  • Denzel Valentine hopes to get better opportunities being part of the New York Knicks
  • The Lakers save $4 million in salary and luxury tax thanks to an assist from the Knicks
  • The Lakers are likely to sign Stanley Johnson to fill an open roster spot following the Rajon Rondo trade

To most, Denzel Valentine may hardly ring a bell.

The 28-year-old guard barely made his presence felt with the Cleveland Cavaliers and will now hope to get some kind of luck moving to the New York Knicks.

Valentine thanked the Cavaliers for the short stay he had with the team on Instagram.

He appeared in 22 games and managed only 2.9 points and 1.7 rebounds in just 9.3 minutes of action.

The 6-foot-4 guard was signed in September after spending his first four seasons with the Chicago Bulls.

His only notable performance was during the 2017-18 season, where he started in 37 games and averaged 10.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.2 assists.

Valentine’s signing was seen as nothing more than an experiment. Now, he hopes to catch a break under coach Tom Thibodeau over in New York.

Most may be surprised to learn of the move. Originally, the 14th pick of the 2016 NBA Draft was expected to move to Los Angeles with the Lakers as part of the Rajon Rondo deal.

The trajectory changed when the Knicks were infused in the deal, making it a three-team trade.

Instead, the Lakers will get the draft rights to Louis Labeyrie with Valentine headed to New York.

Had he gone to the Lakers, Valentine would have been waived anyway.

The three-team deal benefitted the Lakers since they not only opened a roster spot but saved $4 million in salary and luxury tax, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported.

A prime candidate to take the spot is Stanley Johnson, who signed a 10-day deal that expired on Sunday, January 3.

However, given the fact that Johnson has been a good pickup, it appears that he may be signed to a longer deal–at least until the end of the current season.

Head coach Frank Vogel appears to be impressed as well but could not offer details on what lies ahead for Johnson

“Other than we still hope to have him back for some more games. All those answers will reveal themselves over the next few days…[Rob Pelinka] and [Kurt Rambis] are gonna make those decisions as they see fit, and that will all play out in the next few days,” Vogel said in a report from Lakers’ reporter Michael Corvo.

Denzel Valentine #45 of the Cleveland Cavaliers Denzel Valentine #45 of the Cleveland Cavaliers Photo: Getty Images | Jason Miller