With only about $56MM in guaranteed salary on their books for next season, the Knicks have the flexibility necessary to create cap room and make a run at one or more top free agents. However, the team also feels as if it’s well-positioned to trade for an impact player, as an April report indicated.
This year’s free agent class isn’t particularly star-heavy, so it’s possible that greasing the wheels for a blockbuster trade may be a better use of the Knicks’ cap space. Plus, New York has accumulated seven first-round picks in the next four drafts and has a roster loaded with former lottery selections, so the team could put together an appealing package for the right player.
In a report this week, Marc Berman of The New York Post indicated that Pacers guard Victor Oladipo could be that player. Knicks general manager Scott Perry, who drafted Oladipo when he was a member of the Magic front office in 2013, “still is enamored” with him, according to Berman, and there have been rumblings that the All-Star may not be fully committed to Indiana for the long term.
Thunder guard Chris Paul, a former CAA client of new Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose, is another potential trade target for the franchise.
Writing today about that possibility in a separate story for The New York Post, Berman suggests that Oklahoma City would likely seek a first-round pick and a young prospect on his rookie contract in return for Paul. According to Berman, the Thunder would probably target Kevin Knox in a deal with New York, while the Knicks would rather give up Frank Ntilikina or Dennis Smith Jr.
Oladipo and Paul aren’t the only potential trade candidates who could catch the Knicks’ eye this offseason, but they’re probably two of the only All-Stars who will realistically be available. Within his initial article on Oladipo, Berman names three more trade targets who would intrigue the Knicks, but it’s hard to imagine any of them (Joel Embiid, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Paul George) actually changing teams this fall.
Of course, even if Embiid, Towns, George, or another superstar becomes available, the cost to acquire them in a trade would be extremely high. On the other hand, there are certain factors that should keep the price tags of Oladipo (health; expiring contract) and Paul (age; exorbitant salary) in check, which may appeal to the Knicks — making a trade for one of those two players could help New York move back toward playoff contention without emptying the team’s treasure chest of assets.
In today’s Community Shootaround, we want to get your input on the Knicks’ offseason options.
Does Oladipo look like an appealing trade target for New York? How about Paul? Should the team wait for a star with fewer question marks to become available before looking to trade future first-round picks? Or should the Knicks altogether avoid trading multiple assets for one impact player, focusing instead – for now at least – on using their cap room to sign free agents or to keep adding draft picks by taking on unwanted contracts?
Head to the comment section to share your thoughts on the Knicks’ offseason plan!