Leon Rose needs to be careful in his first offseason as New York Knicks president. Here are some moves he should and shouldn’t make.
Once the NBA regular season officially ends, the New York Knicks will tip off perhaps their most important offseason in several years.
The Knicks are slowly but surely closing in on becoming contenders for a low Eastern Conference playoff seed. A cautious but aggressive offseason could propel them to that type of spot.
In new president Leon Rose, the Knicks employ a former agent who has connections with players that previous New York leaders haven’t possessed.
This shouldn’t just help them in free agency, but additionally in the trade market. They could excite players into pushing forward trades to the Big Apple.
With numerous draft picks and a respectable leader in Rose, here are some moves the Knicks should and shouldn’t make this offseason.
Should: Trade for Bradley Beal
If the Knicks do choose to go big fish hunting through the trade market, Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal should be their guy.
Despite playing for a woeful Washington team, Beal is averaging 30.5 points per game this season with 6.1 assists and 4.2 rebounds.
While it would take a large package to obtain him, the Knicks hold the assets to execute a deal.
They have former first-rounders in Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox, whose future roles with the team are unclear. New York also carries a boatload of first-round picks, and offering up to two of them along with a second-rounder wouldn’t be too much of a burden.
Shouldn’t: Trade for Chris Paul
At 34-years old, Chris Paul is still a top-10 point guard in the NBA. The veteran was named an All-Star this season with the Oklahoma City Thunder and is averaging 17.7 points with 6.8 assists.
As a former Rose client, Paul has been linked to the Knicks for the last few months. But despite the temptations, trading for Paul would be a mistake.
The Knicks are still young and far away from a championship level. As far as their future point guard is concerned, they need a younger player whose best years are ahead of him. At 34 and on the decline, Paul doesn’t fill that bill and isn’t worth the overall investment.
Should: Trade away Kevin Knox
In a recent interview, Kevin Knox’s college coach John Calipari said that it would take his former star three years to develop at the NBA level. Thus, to him, Knox still has another year to prove himself.
The eye test suggests otherwise.
After a respectable rookie season, Knox is struggling in year No. 2. He’s averaging just 6.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, and less than one assist.
Whether it’s a bad fit in New York or just a poor draft choice, Knox doesn’t look like he’ll ever succeed in the Big Apple. A fresh start would ultimately benefit both sides.
Shouldn’t: Trade away Frank Ntilikina, unless it’s for Bradley Beal
Frank Ntilikina has been on a roller coaster ride ever since his arrival in New York in 2017. But he’s proved himself as an elite defender this year, which should give Knicks fans hope regarding his future.
Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell gave a glowing review of Ntilikina to ESNY’s Danny Small earlier this month.
“He’s one of the toughest defenders I’ve had to face [and he’s] younger than me,” he said. “He’s solid. I always tell him to keep being more aggressive, but he plays within the system and he plays the right way. I always respect him for that. He’s a guy that I really respect in this league just because he goes and does it the right way.”
Averaging nearly a steal per game on defense and 6.3 points on the offensive end, Ntilikina is a perfect depth piece for the Knicks going forward. Thus, unless they’re obtaining a star like Beal, he should not be going anywhere.
Should: Trade for Gary Harris
Even if the Knicks add an elite guard such as Beal, they need one more shooting threat off the bench. Nuggets guard Gary Harris is a perfect fit for that role and could be added at a lower price.
Harris is averaging 10.4 points for Denver this season while shooting 42% from the field. The percentage is a bit lower than his career rate of 45.4%. This suggests he could simply be in the midst of a down year.
During the 2017-18 season, Harris shot 48.5% from the field and 39.6% from three. The year before, he shot 42% from three. If he can just rediscover that shooting stroke, he’d be a weapon for any NBA bench, including the Knicks.
Shouldn’t: Trade Mitchell Robinson
While the Knicks desperately need help in the backcourt, trading away Mitchell Robinson is not the correct move to make.
The seven-footer is one of the NBA’s elite shot-blockers, averaging two per game. This mark currently ranks seventh in the NBA. In addition, he’s averaging 9.7 points and seven rebounds in just his second pro season.
These numbers put Robinson on pace to become one of the NBA’s top centers in a league where having an impact big man is becoming rarer by the day. Trading him away for any sort of backcourt piece or even draft capital would be a massive mistake.