The New York Knicks are one of the teams that are expected to aggressively pursue a superstar before the 2021 trade deadline. Despite a comparatively impressive start, the Knicks might need a legitimate star on their roster in order to have a realistic chance of making noise in the Eastern Conference this year. According to a source who spoke to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, the Knicks are highly expected to be "in the mix" when a star becomes available on the market this season.
The source also added that it has been on the team's "plan" to bring a big name to New York. Bondy named three superstars that could be on the top of the list of the Knicks' targets before the deadline. These include Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls, and Victor Oladipo of the Houston Rockets.
If the Knicks want to become a more competitive team in the 2020-21 NBA season, bringing the league's leading scorer to New York could make a lot of sense. Beal is currently averaging 32.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.3 steals while shooting 46.8 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN. Unfortunately, as of now, the Wizards are still not listening to offers for their best player.
In the event Beal becomes available on the trade market, Bondy revealed that the Knicks would likely need to pay a king's ransom to the Wizards.
"Three different executives, who spoke to the News, defined the price as steep. One longtime GM laid it out specifically: three unprotected first rounders, two pick swaps, a young player and an expiring contract. That's approaching [James] Harden territory. The Nets, as the News reported, had internally discussed acquiring Beal long before exhausting their assets for Harden. As far as valuable young players, the Knicks can offer [R.J.] Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Immanuel Quickley or [Obi] Toppin. Their best player, Julius Randle, is only tied to next season with a $19.8 million team option."
Meanwhile, LaVine has been frequently linked to the Knicks since the 2020 offseason. However, like Beal, LaVine has yet to become officially available on the trading block this season. So far, the Bulls are reportedly reluctant to move their leading scorer but things are expected to change if they find themselves out of the playoff race before the 2021 trade deadline.
Of all the three superstars that the Knicks could target on the market, Oladipo would be the cheapest option. He has just recovered from a major injury and is currently in the final year of his contract. However, if he would continue to improve his performance and manage to remain healthy throughout the season, adding Oladipo to the core of Robinson, Randle, Barrett, and Elfrid Payton would give the Knicks a better chance of ending their playoff drought this year.