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Media Round-Up: The Knicks passed on Paul George, might have interest in Grant Williams.

Would you, could you Grant Williams?

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New York Knicks v Boston Celtics Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

On the latest episode of the Bart & Hahn Show, Alan Hahn discussed the Knicks’ missed opportunity to acquire Paul George: “They had a chance to get Paul George. They said it was too expensive. . . . They talked to the Clippers, the Clippers gave what it would cost, then Paul George said, ‘But I want an extension.’ And they said, ‘We’re not doing that.’ And they walked away.”

The trade package required to obtain George was likely substantial and would have involved giving up players like RJ Barrett, Quentin Grimes, and Evan Fournier, plus draft picks. George has struggled with injuries and has not played a full season since 2018-19, making it difficult to have any confidence in acquiring him. The Knicks were smart to pass.

According to the NY Post, Paul George is eligible for a contract extension worth a maximum of $220 million over four years. If not extended, PG could decline his player option for the 2024-25 season and explore other opportunities in the market.

It is worth acknowledging again that the Knicks’ front office has demonstrated a refreshing amount of competence and patience. Their contracts for Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle look downright shrewd compared to what other teams are spending on comparative or lesser talents. The team chose not dismantle the roster to acquire Donovan Mitchell and has yet to trade for an injury-prone star like George.

Of course, if the Knicks fail to land players like Joel Embiid (And, really, will Philly let him go to their division rival?), Giannis Antetokounmpo, or Luka Dončić, skeptics will claim that the front office missed yet another opportunity to acquire a Big Name.

And, sure, white-bearded basketball historians may one day conclude that the Knicks blew it with Obi Toppin. In trading him to the Indiana Pacers, the Knicks received two future second-round picks. Shedding his salary seemed imperative for New York, and Indiana could absorb Toppin’s $6.8 million. The power forward’s time with the Knicks was frustrating, as he played limited minutes behind two-time All-Star Julius Randle. If Toppin thrives in Indiana, New York will rightfully face criticism for botching it.

Most likely, the Knicks are trying to find a replacement for the reserve power forward position before the season starts. Jared Weiss recently wrote for The Athletic (paywalled): “The expectation with Grant Williams has always been that a sign-and-trade or midlevel exception (MLE) would be the likely outcome. Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, New York, and Washington are all still in the mix, according to league sources.”

According to Weiss’s sources, the Celtics might match a deal up to $12.4 million. Teams like Dallas, New York, and Washington, along with Atlanta and Charlotte, can potentially arrange a sign-and-trade with the Celts to secure Williams for a salary that Boston would refuse.

Williams cannot sign an offer sheet until July 6. Once he signs, Boston will have 24 hours to decide whether to match the offer. He is a more complete package than Obi—Williams plays defense, rebounds, and shoots better than the outgoing Brooklynite. With his pugnacious attitude, Grant is a Tom Thibodeau-type player and would find minutes in the rotation.

The 24-year-old Williams scored eight points and grabbed 4.6 boards for Beantown last season while shooting just under 40% from downtown on 3.7 attempts per game. His lifetime defensive rating is 111. At 6’6” and 236 lb, he has always seemed a little undersized to play power forward, yet I would much prefer to see him at the four position than Josh Hart. Hart is 6’5”, but 20 pounds lighter, and much better suited as a shooting guard.

Given his sensibility with other contracts, don’t expect Rose to overpay for Grant. Slotting Josh Hart into the reserve power forward position is unideal, though. Look for the Knicks to secure a backup (and reasonably priced) big man before the summer concludes.