Kansas City Signs James To Two-Year Deal

  • By John Comey, Day 1, 2023

The Kansas City Knights, a team who has underwent total upheaval over the last several weeks, returned some of their fans’ faith on Wednesday night.

The Knights announced the signing of former Pittsburgh star Shandon James to a two-year, $14 million contract. James will be formally announced at a press conference on Friday.

James, who spent the last two years with the Vipers, averaged 19.8 points per game last season. For his career, which he has spent with New York, Las Vegas, Austin and Pittsburgh, James has averaged 18.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game.

James, the 2013 Rookie of the Year, won a championship in 2017 with Austin.

A concern about James, and what shied off many teams with him, was his injury-marred 2022 season. He suffered a torn MCL on Day 20 last year. Two weeks after he returned, he injured his foot, and missed another two weeks.

The Knights, who opened the offseason as a prime landing spot for coveted free agent Dontay Sowder, went a completely different way. While some around the organization question the motivation, GM Jack Dawkins maintains he changed course to play the long game, after surveying the landscape of the Western Conference.

Sowder, who was traded to Seattle yesterday, continued the narrative of the summer: The West gets wilder with each passing day.

The Knights traded Aaron Honeycutt on draft night to Baltimore, receiving five draft picks (one next season). With six draft picks (the team added the 14th overall pick minutes later), the team used three of their draft picks on small forwards. However, it is expected that only one of those, Tyrone Jones of Arkansas, will receive any meaningful time this year.

As a result, the team has sought some veteran presence to help the kids grow. James is part of that plan. He should also take some of the scoring load off reigning MVP Kelvin Hawes, and give him a valuable sidekick, as he heads into his contract year.

Rumors are that the Knights are close to signing three other players, though the team would not comment on any other offers.

In other news, the team is close to signing former Toronto assistant Christian Byrne to Mitchell Anderson’s staff.