Knicks Notes: George, Mitchell, Anunoby, Hartenstein

Paul George would be an “ideal fit” for the Knicks, but it won’t be easy to acquire him if he fails to reach a long-term deal with the Clippers, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic. The 34-year-old forward has a $48.8MM player option for next season that must be picked up by June 29. He’s eligible for a four-year, $221MM extension with Los Angeles, but negotiations have been at an impasse.

George’s three-point shooting, pick-and-roll skills and constant movement would help him blend seamlessly with the rest of New York’s roster, according to Katz, who adds that George and OG Anunoby would become the best pair of perimeter defenders in the league. Katz points out that George has a history of playing alongside other stars and he’s a client of CAA, which was formerly run by Knicks president Leon Rose.

New York won’t have cap space to sign George if he opts out, and the Clippers wouldn’t be permitted to sign and trade him because they’re above the second apron. The Knicks would need George to opt in to make a deal possible, and Katz is skeptical that L.A. would be in a hurry to move him if he’s under contract for another season.

Sources tell Katz that the Knicks have considered George in the past, but they’ve never made a serious offer to acquire him. That could change if he and the Clippers agree that picking up the option and being traded this summer is the best course of action.

There’s more from New York:

  • Sources also tell Katz that the Knicks’ desire to add Donovan Mitchell isn’t nearly as strong as it was two years ago. There has been speculation that the Cavaliers guard could be available again if he doesn’t agree to an extension this summer. New York made an offer to Utah for Mitchell in 2022, but Katz notes that Jalen Brunson‘s emergence into a star has diminished the need for another scoring guard. Katz also examines Mikal Bridges, Karl-Anthony Towns, Dejounte Murray and DeMar DeRozan as potential additions. Katz cites sources who say that the Nets have been offered multiple first-round picks for Bridges, but they continue to view him as part of the foundation and hope to eventually pair him with another star.
  • After their playoff run ended, members of the Knicks organization expressed confidence about their chances of re-signing both Anunoby and Isaiah Hartenstein, per Ian Begley of SNY. Begley adds that the team expects competition for both players and could be outbid for Hartenstein because league rules limit their offer to about $16MM for next season and $72.5MM over four years.
  • In a subscriber-only piece, Stefan Bondy of The New York Post examines Rose’s draft history to see if it offers any clues about what the Knicks might do with picks No. 24 and 25 this year.
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