On June 22, the night of last month’s draft, the Knicks contemplated sending the Clippers a trade package that featured Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes, Evan Fournier and three first-round picks in exchange for star forward Paul George, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.
When New York later agreed to trade Toppin to the Pacers for a couple second-rounders, the Clippers briefly brought up RJ Barrett to take his place in the aforementioned trade framework, says Scotto. The Knicks balked at that proposal, believing the asking was price too steep for George, who will make $45.64MM in 2023/24 and is eligible for an extension this offseason, per Scotto.
The Knicks control multiple protected first-round picks from other teams, so it’s unclear whether the first-rounders Scotto mentioned were protected in some fashion or were their own unprotected picks. Either way, apparently the talks didn’t advance.
Here’s more on the Knicks:
- According to Ian Begley of SNY.tv, Josh Hart will sign a long-term extension with the Knicks in August once he becomes eligible. His maximum extension number would be $81MM over four years, and Begley hears the veteran wing will receive “slightly less” than that figure. It seems highly likely that Hart exercised his player option in order to give the team more financial flexibility in free agency, with a handshake agreement on an extension.
- Begley hears from sources who say the Knicks haven’t budged on their asking prices for star players on the trade market, including Damian Lillard and James Harden, and both players are unlikely to wind up in New York. Like Zach Lowe of ESPN, Begley continues to hear the Knicks might be eyeing Joel Embiid in the future.
- Prior to using their mid-level exception to sign Donte DiVincenzo, the Knicks were interested in several unrestricted free agents, including Bruce Brown, Max Strus and Yuta Watanabe, Scotto states. Brown signed with the Pacers; Strus landed in Cleveland via sign-and-trade; and Watanabe signed with Phoenix.
- Losing Toppin means New York has rotation minutes available at backup power forward. Scotto hears Isaiah Roby will be given an opportunity to win the job, with Hart an option in small-ball lineups. Roby signed with the Knicks on the last day of the ’22/23 regular season, receiving a significant upfront payment ($400K) that suggested he could be in the team’s future plans.
- Sixth Man of the Year runner-up Immanuel Quickley‘s floor in a rookie scale extension is expected to be $20MM annually, and Scotto’s sources say the Knicks would consider a deal in that range. However, if the two sides don’t reach an agreement and Quickley continues to improve next season, Scotto says New York might contemplate using him as part of a trade package for a star.