This season was nothing short of awful for New York Knicks fans around the world. They ended their season with a record of 21-45, ending in 11th place out of the Eastern Conference. Here, we’ll go into how the Knicks can trade their way towards becoming a playoff team.
Tom Thibodeau, recently appointed head coach has already made strategic assistant coaching decisions that could bring in young stars to New York. Kenny Payne, coach at Kentucky State, brought in to pull past Kentucky state basketball players. A particular player that is a target for the Knicks is Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker to the Knicks. Thibodeau additionally hired Johnnie Bryant, assistant coach for the Utah Jazz. This may have been a play to bring in potential superstar Donovan Mitchell. Each of these players could significantly bolster the Knicks offensive prowess.
Each of these two players is the future of their distinct teams, making it difficult for the Knicks to make a play at either of them. Therefore, a trade for either of the two young stars would require losing one of their two potential stars. Both RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson have shown promise to improve the Knicks greatly. However, there’s been a worry in the front office in New York of whether or not the pair is enough to reestablish the Knicks as a dominant team in the NBA.
Building around Joel Embiid
Additionally, a slightly more realistic option for the Knicks could be trading their way towards disgruntled star Joel Embiid. Embiid has made it clear he’s not entirely sure if he has a long term future with the Philadelphia 76ers. After being swept by the Boston Celtics, the Cameroonian stated he would be alright leaving Philadelphia in the future. The Knicks have considered making a play at him, which would inevitably result in losing 22-year-old center Mitchell Robinson. However, this would surely be worth it, if the Knicks could acquire one of the best talents in Embiid.
The Knicks could potentially reach an agreement with the 76ers if they offered a deal to free up cap space in Philadelphia. A deal involving Mitchell Robinson, Julius Randle, Dennis Smith JR, and their two first-round picks this year. Philadelphia would give up Joel Embiid, along with Al Horford. Horford currently has a huge contract, which prevents the 76ers from signing better players.
If the Knicks are able to trade for a star to build around in New York, they will inevitably need players to sign in free agency. These are players that could turn the Knicks from a team that flirts with the playoffs, to one which could consistently play well, and make a run in the playoffs. It may be difficult for the Knicks to trade for these role players, therefore, they could sign them through the free agency. One of these players could be point guard Fred Van Vleet. The previous NBA champion could bring up the Knicks shooting percentage up significantly. With both his field goal and three-point percentage above 50%, he could spread the court well for New York. This season, the 6’1 guard has also averaged 7.8 assists. This could be beneficial to supporting some of the younger players on the team.
Another prospect the Knicks could potentially sign is Joe Harris. Currently, on the Brooklyn Nets, he is known for being one of the best 3 point shooters in the league. Harris could fit very well with the Knicks if they are able to acquire a big man like Joel Embiid. Harris could be a consistent option on the wing who would regularly knock down shots, with an impressive 48% from the field.
Should the Knicks add this level of talent to their roster, they can expect New York to become an appealing destination for younger stars. At the moment, New York is not an ideal place for many younger players to come develop. However, this could change over this off-season if they rebuild their roster. The ball is in New York’s court now, and if Thibodeau can reestablish the Knicks as an exciting team, Knicks fans are in for a treat.