The New York Knicks will inevitably be tied to some star player via trade rumors this season and beyond. A look at who’d be worth it.
When the New York Knicks signed Joakim Noah in the 2016 free agency, I was sure the days of starless summers were over. Well, it’s been three years, and I’ve never been more sure that no one is coming to New York voluntarily.
And now that Draymond Green has inked an extension to remain with the Golden State Warriors, Anthony Davis is the only top-tier guy in next summer’s free agency market.
That being said, if the NBA has taught us anything, it’s that players don’t always control where they end up playing.
Okay 99% of the time, yes, they do.
But there’s always the Kawhi Leonard-to-Toronto, Paul George-to-Oklahoma, and Blake Griffin-to-Detroit’s of the world.
And maybe for New York, that’s what it’s going to take.
Is it time for the Knicks to consider cashing in half-a-decade’s worth of tanking in exchange for an All-Star? Maybe, maybe not.
But if it’s that route that’s taken, these three guys would draw immediate interest as a fit in New York.
1. Bradley Beal
If there were a Vegas line on the NBA-star to most likely end the year in a new uniform, it’d be Bradley Beal.
It looks like John Wall will miss the entire 2019-20 season per Michael Lee of The Athletic. Whether they choose to admit it or not, the Washington Wizards are in full rebuild mode.
Beal was nothing short of dominant when Wall fell out last season, despite the team’s 19-27 record in the 46 games without the All-Star point guard.
Beal finished the year posting career-averages in points (25.6), rebounds (5.0), and assists (5.5) per game. And per Basketball Reference, only six qualified players post that line.
Of the six (Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, James Harden, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant), Beal trailed just Harden in total points scored (2,099) and total steals (121). He was a threat on both ends of the ball.
All this while leading the entire company in both minutes (3,028) and games played (82). Only three players have done that in the last decade: Beal, LeBron, and Harden.
At only 26, this playmaking two-guard is entering elite company. It’s hard to see this kind of talent wasting away in Washington.
It’s unclear exactly how much it would take to acquire the All-Star shooting guard, but Beal is a guy that’s worth taking a chance on.
2. Blake Griffin
The resurgence of Blake Griffin in Detroit probably hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. Which of course can be credited to their lack of success as a team.
But his work as an individual talent, and even as a frontcourt mate next to Andre Drummond is keeping fans at bay.
Which is saying a lot, considering the Pistons have gone a just-below-average 80-84 in the last two years. They were swept in their lone postseason appearance against Milwaukee.
That brings me to my next point. Detroit defines the category of “fringe-playoff team.” The shell of Reggie Jackson and offensively limited Andre Drummond are not comparable to Griffin’s teams of the Lob City Era in Los Angeles.
Griffin finished the year having played 75 games, and averaging: 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game.
Griffin is a playmaking big, and would fit right in with the Knicks. What he can show to Knox and Randle is invaluable, provided they’re still with the team post-trade.
Speaking of, it’s hard to see a package to Detroit that makes them competitive right now. But any deal with the Knicks assuredly clears out their cap situation moving forward.
3. Anthony Davis
My favorite potential timeline is the inevitable demise of the Los Angeles Lakers; which forces Anthony Davis to leave. Just 12 months after arriving, mind you. In a scenario where the franchise, truly did sell not only their dignity but the entire farm.
Until he signs an extension, there’s no reason to dismiss Davis as a legitimate pursuit. At 26 years old, he’s going to know by December if his championship aspirations can be fulfilled next to LeBron in Los Angeles.
And if not, boy is NBA Twitter not ready for that day. The Lakers were clowned for their multiple attempts at obtaining a star. And if when they finally did, it resulted in one 49-33 season and a first-round playoff exit? WOOF.
It’s not extremely likely. But of course, when Paul George signed his four-year extension to handle unfinished business next to Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City, no one foresaw his trade request to pair up with Kawhi Leonard on the Clippers.
And, it just so happens, New York was one of the few markets Davis listed as a preferred landing spot throughout the entirety of his trade saga. AND, I will point out; it was once rumored he’d be willing to sign an extension with the Knicks upon being traded.
Similar to Paul George’s affections for Los Angeles, Davis’ infatuation with New York may not be done grasping headlines.
Should Los Angeles not have the season they hope for, which happens more often than not lately, Davis may open up as a trade target for the Knicks as early as February. Of course, this would be a doomsday scenario for the Lakers, but stranger things have happened.
Davis posted 25.9 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 3.9 assists in 56 games played last year. He was held out, not due to injury, but the chance of injury ahead of his inevitable exit this summer.
And as the only top-five talent on this three-man list, there’s no question to whether or not you sell the farm.
To my fellow Knicks fans, I say this. In the wise words of MCU’s Thanos from Avengers Infinity War:
“Dread it, run from it, destiny arrives all the same.”
The front office can preach that they’ve turned a new leaf and are focused on player development as much as they’d like.
Real New York fans go to sleep every night assured that as long as there are sweepstakes for the stars, this team will be involved.