A report last month indicated that Knicks management believes the team is well positioned to trade for a disgruntled star if one becomes available, given its surplus of first-round picks and cap flexibility going forward. However, even if the Knicks are right, it’s not clear which star player may be the next to push for a trade — or when that will happen.
Looking to identify a possible target to monitor, Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News zeroes in on second-year Hawks guard Trae Young as one option. As Bondy explains, Atlanta has a 49-100 (.329) record since Young entered the league and at least one report has suggested the young star hasn’t always been on the same page as head coach Lloyd Pierce. Bondy also points to some positive comments Young made about the Knicks before the 2018 draft, when the youngster said it would be a “blessing” to be selected by New York.
While Knicks fans may enjoy dreaming about Young lighting up Madison Square Garden, Bondy’s proposal – which earned an “LOL” from Hawks beat writer Chris Kirschner of The Athletic – seems far-fetched at this point.
Young is under contract through at least 2022 and young stars rarely leave their teams at the end of their four-year rookie contracts, since they can’t reach unrestricted free agency unless they’re willing to accept a modest fifth-year qualifying offer instead of a lucrative long-term deal. That’s such a rarity that few teams even take the threat seriously — the Knicks, who dealt Kristaps Porzingis before he reached restricted free agency, are one of the only teams in recent history to trade a fourth-year star amidst rumors he’d sign his QO, and that deal hasn’t worked out especially well for them.
There’s nothing wrong with the Knicks keeping an eye on Young, but I imagine they’ll have to look elsewhere if they want to acquire a star in a trade during the next year or two.
Here’s more on the NBA’s two New York teams:
- Having received a one-year extension from the Knicks, GM Scott Perry may only be a short-term solution for the team under new president of basketball operations Leon Rose. Danny Leroux of The Athletic takes a look at how that decision to retain Perry for a bridge year could backfire.
- The Nets parted ways with former CEO David Levy back in November, just two months after hiring him. As Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News reports, Levy’s stint with the franchise was short-lived because his contract stated he’d have some influence in the basketball operations department and that didn’t sit well with members of the team’s front office. According to Bondy, the “pushback” Levy received led to the Nets essentially buying him out.
- Neither the Knicks nor Nets will open their practice facilities on Friday, and neither team has specified a target date for when that may happen, per Jeff Zillgitt and Mark Medina of USA Today.