The winner of tonight’s NBA draft lottery will ostensibly be the winner of the Zion Williamson sweepstakes, but it’s possible that the team with the No. 1 pick will end up using Williamson as a trade chip. While most clubs wouldn’t pass on the opportunity to move forward with the Duke forward as a franchise centerpiece, the Knicks are one team that might consider dealing him.
In fact, according to Shams Charania of Stadium (video link via Knicks Film School), if the Knicks do land the No. 1 overall pick, they’re expected to “shift their focus” to a potential trade for Anthony Davis. Charania reports that Williamson and Kevin Knox would likely be the headliners of a Knicks offer for Davis in that scenario.
Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News conveys a similar sentiment, tweeting that Knicks executives have told rivals they plan to seriously pursue Davis this summer.
For a team in the midst of a rebuild, it wouldn’t make much sense to trade a young, cost-controlled building block like Williamson, so the Knicks’ apparent willingness to use him as a trade chip in Davis negotiations is the latest signal that the franchise is confident about its ability to land other impact players in free agency and contend immediately.
Of course, as noted in our draft lottery primer, the Knicks’ odds of securing that top pick are still just 14.0%, so there’s a good chance this discussion will be moot in a matter of hours.
Here’s more on the Knicks:
- In a conversation with Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, Knicks executives Steve Mills and Scott Perry spoke about the team’s upcoming offseason, its player development program, and much more. Asked about their flexibility, Perry pointed out that the Knicks’ cap room gives the front office multiple options. “The obvious answer is that it puts you in the free agency game,” the Knicks’ GM said. “What gets lost and doesn’t get talked about, you’re at the table for trades. The flexibility allows you to be involved in a multitude of discussions about a multitude of things to help your team get better.”
- Perry also addressed the Knicks’ offseason this week during an appearance on ESPN Radio, as Ian Begley of SNY.tv relays. “We’re going to play the hand we’re dealt,” Perry said in regard to the Knicks’ free agency plans. “… Whatever happens, we know we’re going to add some talent to the roster this summer.”
- Earlier today, we passed along word that the Knicks have interest in a pair of free-agents-to-be from the Celtics besides Kyrie Irving.