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Bubble Check: A look at how 5 potential Knicks targets are doing in Disney

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Yes, this includes Melo.

Portland Trail Blazers v Toronto Raptors
Might these two be teammates on the Knicks next season?
Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

The Disney World bubble features a bevy of basketballers who could potentially become Knicks in the near future, including Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Fred VanVleet and more. Let’s check in on how five possible Knicks targets are performing in the NBA’s restart thus far.

Carmelo Anthony

Through three games, Melo has made strides in shutting up the haters. Not only has he drained multiple clutch shots, his statistics suggest he has finally figured out how to fit in as an important role player rather than trying to be the star.

Anthony is averaging 16 points (45% from the field, 50% from three), 7 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in 35 minutes per game. He’s an unrestricted free agent this offseason. If the Portland Trail Blazers can’t afford to keep him, but he’s amenable to a reasonable contract and can continue to show his current level of awareness, maybe it wouldn’t be the worst thing ever to bring him in as a veteran presence for the young Knicks. The 36-year-old could teach R.J. Barrett how to jab step.

Uh oh, is this what Stockholm syndrome feels like?

Danilo Gallinari

Once the bubble bursts, Gallo will become an unrestricted free agent, although the Oklahoma City Thunder retain his bird rights, meaning the team could go over the salary cap to keep him if they’d like.

In three games of bubble ball, the Italian stallion is averaging 18 points (43% from the field, 40% from three) and 5 boards in 24 minutes per contest. It continues to be true that a Gallo reunion at Madison Square Garden would be exhilarating.

He’s only 31, so the Knicks could ink him to a multiyear deal, theoretically giving him the opportunity to still be in New York if and when the team finally turns things around.

Chris Paul

CP3 is a remarkable basketball player, and so far he’s spent the bubble adding to an already impressive resume. In three contests, he’s posting 21 points (58% from the field, 40% from three), 7 assists, 5 rebounds and 1 steal in 32 minutes of action per game.

Paul is not a free agent this summer, so the Knicks would either have to trade for him or hope that he decides to opt out; he’s got a player option that would pay him over $44 million next year, so it seems likely the 35-year-old will choose to make $44 million next year on a pretty good team instead of opting out to sign with one of the worst teams in the NBA.

Still, he used to be represented by Leon Rose, and you know what they say about the guys currently running the Knicks: connections, connections, connections. If the Knicks could swing a deal that doesn’t involve Barrett or Mitchell Robinson, maybe it’s worth looking into. But please, for the love of god, be careful. And probably just don’t trade for him.

Fred VanVleet

VanVleet, who’s only 26-years-old, is someone the Knicks should definitely be targeting once free agency begins. For starters, he’s a champion who scored 22 points in the closeout game of last year’s NBA Finals. Not to mention that he has improved in each of his first four seasons in the league, leading to this year’s overall averages of 18 points (42% from the field, 40% from three), 7 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals per game. He’s also an insanely good free throw shooter, shooting 84% for his career and a career-best 85% this season.

As of early Thursday, through three games in the bubble, he was averaging 23 points (53% overall, 50% from deep), 8 dimes, 5 boards and 1 steal. He dropped a career-high 36 points in a victory over the Miami Heat.

VanVleet would appear to be the perfect compliment to Frank Ntilikina. VanVleet gets the buckets, Ntilikina stops the opponent from getting buckets. Sounds like a recipe for success.

Tim Hardaway Jr.

Wait, Hardaway Jr.’s contract is already set to expire? Wasn’t he an albatross the Knicks needed to get rid of so badly that they packaged him with Kristaps Porzingis for almost literally nothing?

Actually, apparently Hardaway Jr. is who the Mavs originally wanted, and the Knicks were like ‘btw we’re totes down to toss KP into this trade, lol!’ If that’s true, it means the Knicks weren’t necessarily desperate to deal the son of their former nemesis back in 2019; he’s already been on the Knicks twice, and they say third time’s a charm.

Jokes aside, THJ actually has a player option worth almost $18 million for next season, so thank goodness the Knicks got rid of him. Imagine employing a guy with paltry bubble averages like 16 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists per game.