Despite failing to acquire their top targets last summer, the New York Knicks still haven’t given up on their dream of adding a legitimate NBA superstar to their roster. After suffering another huge disappointment in the 2019-20 NBA season, the Knicks are expected to make moves that could strengthen their chance of returning to title contention. With the lack of talented players in the 2020 free agency class, the Knicks are more likely to search for major roster upgrades on the trade market.
Some of the realistic trade targets include Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers. According to Dan Favale of Bleacher Report, the blockbuster deals that would send Paul and Love to New York could help the Knicks turn things around in the 2020-21 season.
With his impressive performance in his first year in Oklahoma City, Paul became an intriguing trade target, not only for title contenders, but also for young teams who need a culture setter. Bringing Paul to New York comes with a price, however, especially now that he managed to regain his All-Star form. To acquire him, Favale suggested the Knicks could offer a trade package that included Kevin Knox, Dennis Smith Jr., Julius Randle, and a 2021 first-round pick.
With the inclusion of young players and a future draft pick, it’s hard to see the Thunder passing on the deal. Trading for Love after they successfully acquired Paul would be easier for the Knicks, since they would no longer be needing to use their salary cap space. As Favale noted, the Knicks could get Love from the Cavaliers by offering Taj Gibson and Bobby Portis and using the Los Angeles Clippers’ 2020 first-round pick as a sweetener.
The Cavaliers would likely demand more assets in return for Love, but it is highly unlikely they could get a better offer from other teams. Aside from acquiring a future first-round pick, the potential deal would allow the Cavaliers to have salary cap flexibility in the summer of 2021, where Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard are all set to become unrestricted free agents.
Bringing Paul and Love to New York won’t immediately make the Knicks an instant favorite to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy, but it would undeniably make them a better and more competitive team in the Eastern Conference. Returning to playoff contention could at least help them once again become an attractive destination for superstars.