As the Lakers look to clear some salary to strengthen their offer to free agent center Marc Gasol, the Knicks have emerged as a potential trade partner in a possible deal involving JaVale McGee, sources tell Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).
Due to their hard-cap constraints, the Lakers are probably limited to only offering Gasol a one-year, minimum-salary deal for the time being. Clearing some salary would allow them to offer Gasol more than the minimum if the Raptors are willing to do a sign-and-trade. It would also allow them to offer a two-year minimum deal (which carries a higher first-year cap hit), as John Hollinger of The Athletic notes (via Twitter).
If the Knicks are going to take on McGee’s contract using their cap room, they’ll need some sort of sweetener. As Michael Scotto of HoopsHype points out (via Twitter), New York got two second-round picks from Utah for taking on Ed Davis‘ $5MM expiring deal and would likely seek a similar haul for accepting McGee’s $4.2MM expiring contract.
The Lakers, who will probably only make a deal if they have an agreement lined up with Gasol (or another free agent), would have to decide how much they’re willing to pay in extra assets to upgrade from McGee at center.
The Knicks have been prioritizing 2023 second-round picks in trades this week, having already acquired – or agreed to acquire – three of them. The team reportedly expects that to be the first draft that high school players will once again permitted to enter, which would make for an extra-talented class. I imagine if a McGee deal gets done between the two teams, the Knicks may well come out of it with the Lakers’ 2023 second-rounder.