During the 2019 free agency period, the New York Knicks failed to land any superstar players, despite the widespread expectation that they would be in the running for Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who both eventually ended up with the Brooklyn Nets. As such, the team remained far removed from playoff contention when the NBA suspended the 2019-20 season last month. However, a new report suggests that the coming offseason may be different for New York, as the team appears to have a chance of acquiring some top-tier talent for the 2020-21 campaign.
As related by SportsNet New York‘s Ian Begley on Tuesday, the Knicks weren’t able to make any big moves prior to the February 6 trade deadline, as talks to acquire D’Angelo Russell from the Golden State Warriors ultimately fell through when the former No. 2 overall draft pick was sent to the Minnesota Timberwolves instead. While New York had to settle for acquiring Moe Harkless from the Los Angeles Clippers for Marcus Morris, the team also ended up with a 2020 first-round pick and a 2021 second-rounder, thus giving them even more capital for future trades.
Given how the Knicks now have seven future first-round picks until the 2023 draft — as well as promising young players such as R.J. Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, and Kevin Knox — Begley wrote that some team officials believe they are in a very good position to make a move for a “disgruntled” star player, should one become available in the trade market. He further quoted an unnamed front office member, who said that doing so is the “best path” for the Knicks, who are at 12th place in the Eastern Conference with a 21-45 record.
Saturdays are for RJ Barrett ???? pic.twitter.com/QXX9RO5JDf
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) April 11, 2020
While the SNY article did not mention any specific players whom the Knicks could target, Bleacher Report wrote that it appears very easy these days for top players to become disgruntled and demand a trade. The outlet mentioned a number of individuals, including Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Kristaps Porzingis, and Irving as examples of superstar-level players who have been traded at least once since the 2017 offseason.
“A trade would also be a better strategy for the Knicks, who have struck out in their recent attempts to sign elite-level free agents,” the outlet added.
Should the Knicks make a trade for an unhappy star player, as Begley reported, there’s a chance Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love could be one of their possible targets. One trade idea suggested that New York could acquire Love for a trade package featuring big men Bobby Portis and Taj Gibson, plus the 2020 first-round pick acquired from the Clippers in the deal that sent Morris to Los Angeles.