Although the Knicks struck out in their quest to land a star player (or two) on last year’s free agent market, multiple people with the team believe the franchise is well positioned to trade for a “disgruntled” star if one becomes available, writes Ian Begley of SNY.tv.
“It’s the best path for us,” one member of New York’s front office recently said, per Begley.
As Begley explains, the Knicks hold all their own first-round picks going forward and also will receive the Clippers’ 2020 first-rounder, plus first-rounders from Dallas in 2021 (unprotected) and 2023 (top-10 protected).
Under previous presidents of basketball operations Phil Jackson and Steve Mills, the Knicks were reluctant – if not unwilling – to include first-round picks in trades, after having been burned by their willingness to do so in the past. However, that stance appears to be evolving under Leon Rose. According to Begley, multiple people within the organization are comfortable with the idea of giving up a first-rounder or two in the right deal, since the Knicks currently hold seven in the next four drafts.
The club has a fairly clean future cap sheet too, which would allow for some creativity in taking on salary in any trade. Additionally, while the Knicks would likely be very reluctant to include Mitchell Robinson or RJ Barrett in any deals, they have other young players like Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina, who could appeal to teams that believe they could rebuild the value of those former lottery picks.
For now, there’s no obvious trade candidate for the Knicks to target, but as Begley observes, it’s likely just a matter of time before an All-Star caliber player becomes dissatisfied with his current situation and pushes to be dealt. If and when that happens, the Knicks figure to be among the teams in the mix.