The Post’s Marc Berman explored five varying degrees of stars the Knicks could pursue in an offseason trade. Since there are no transcendent talents available in free agency this summer and it is a truth universally acknowledged that a Knicks team in possession of ample cap space must be in want of a blockbuster, speculation abounds that Leon Rose will use that space to trade for a star, even if their transcendence is mostly a fading glory in the rearview mirror. Sunsets are lovely, even if doomed.
Exhibit A is Victor Oladipo, who may not cost much in a trade, almost as if 28-year-olds who’ve yet to show they’re 100% recovered from a ruptured knee and are looking for nine-figure contracts are not in high demand. Chris Paul can be had for even less than Oladipo, so long as you overlook his contract being triple what Patrick Ewing ever made in a season (which is not a shot at Paul earning that much; he deserves more, frankly, as do all NBA superstars; I just find those kinds of facts astounding...like, did you know over his first eight seasons, Jae Crowder has earned triple what Scottie Pippen did in his first eight?).
Karl-Anthony Towns is listed as a possible trade target, which is a long shot, though not the worst long shot we’ve seen around these parts.
Berman writes that KAT’s issues while Tom Thibodeau was his coach had more to do with Jimmy Butler than Thibs, which maybe bodes well for a deal down the road. Hard to imagine Towns would force his way out of Minnesota months after the Timberwolves trade for his BFF D’Angelo Russell and win the draft lottery. But for whatever reason, I’ve always had a feeling Towns ends up a Knick someday. I used to have the same feeling about Latrell Sprewell, and that ended up hitting, so obvs this will too.
Two other names mentioned raise eyebrows for different reasons. Joel Embiid has been linked here before, primarily because he’s a CAA client, secondarily because he’s a great player and tertiarily because deep down the 76ers know they won’t win a title around Embiid and Ben Simmons unless Doc Rivers is the man to unlock that strategic riddle, meaning Philadelphia won’t win a title around those two. Berman implies the Knicks could acquire Embiid without trading Mitchell Robinson, which doesn’t make much sense to me. I don’t think the Knicks have a package that would tempt the 76ers to swing a deal, but it’s hard to imagine one where the Sixers trade their center and don’t take back the younger, cheaper center from New York...especially since that center would seemingly blend better with Simmons, since Mitch doesn’t take 20 shots a night or take up space in the post. Nor do I see why Philadelphia would care much about RJ Barrett as a partner for Simmons. But anything is possible.
The last player Berman lists is Paul George, which is such a reach I feel like Berman had a minimum word count he had to reach so he threw George into the mix. The man who puts up John Starks Game 7 In Houston numbers in most of his playoff games makes no sense at MSG. George is already 30 and would cost a ton of assets, given that he’s what cinched Kawhi Leonard coming to L.A. and that he cost the Clippers roughly what the Dallas Cowboys acquired when they shipped out Herschel Walker (thanks to Greg Butler’s Butler for steering me in the right direction here; I initially confused the Walker trade with the Eric Dickerson trade, which was huge but not historically gargantuan).
The Knicks have no business paying top dollar for a player who isn’t a franchise player, or even the second-best player on a championship team, and while the Knicks aren’t swimming anywhere near the deep end of the pool, what is the benefit of hitching their wagon to George’s middies star? On top of all that, PG has a player option after next season. So unless the Knicks knew he’d stay beyond that, it’d be a short-sighted move, given the unlikelihood of Paul George choosing to hang around while the Knicks crawl toward respect; even if he did, they’d be paying for the privilege of staging his twilight years. And yeah, sunsets can be beautiful, but not when you’re looking for more light and less tunnel.
Read the Berman piece to see his take on what these deals might cost. Would you sign off on any of them? Lay it out in the comments.