Despite finishing with a league-worst record of 17-65 in 2019, the New York Knicks have been one of the most heavily discussed teams heading into the offseason. The talk can be attributed to three main reasons. The last two being what are article revolves around.
- It’s New York- For starters, no matter the sport, the highest market in a league will always generate buzz in terms of free agency and trade talks.
- Cap Space- The second and most explanatory reason, having a lot of cap space grants the ability to (re)sign free agents more free agents than teams that don’t have a lot of cap space.
- They Have The Third Overall Pick- Lastly, with the 3rd overall pick not only could you get a future superstar, but you could also flip that pick for a current superstar.
Without further to do, let’s look at what the Knicks should do considering the situation they’re in.
In advance, I must say that if I’m the New York Knicks, I’m looking to use all of that cap space and have two superstars by the start of the 2019-2020 season. This is a key factor into the decision that the New York Knicks should make regarding the 2019 NBA draft. The 3rd pick holds a lot of value in the NBA and it’s something any team would love to have, including the Knicks themselves. As for who they could pick, RJ Barrett or Jarrett Culver are the two most likely picks. However, the Knicks already have a boatload of young players that play the position that either of those two would be playing (ie. Kevin Knox or Allonzo Trier), and (spoiler) should be looking to sign KD, who is a SF of course. But, the 3rd pick would still be great to have of course. It would, but let me introduce you to Anthony Davis. Davis is the perfect player for this NY Knicks team. He fits their PF hole, is young enough to be great for years to come, is experienced enough to win now, and fits Kevin Durant perfectly as he doesn’t need the ball in his hand to be impactful. He even has the ability to slide into the 5 if needed. That perfect pick brings me to the draft trade I would do if I were the Knicks.
Trade Proposal: Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina, 3rd Overall Pick for Anthony Davis
Another possibility would be adding Solomon Hill and his contract into the trade, but the Knicks are already giving up enough of their future as it is, and can’t afford to lose a lot of cap space. One problem of this trade is in the fact that DeAndre Jordan and Anthony Davis aren’t great fits next to each other. However, DeAndre Jordan is an UFA and it’s very likely that he is leaving regardless. One thing you also may notice is that Dennis Smith Jr. is not involved in this trade. For one, if you’re signing KD and trading for AD, then it’s very unlikely the Knicks find a way to put money together to sign a star point guard and have at least some sort of depth. Second, Dennis Smith Jr. is still at the ripe age of 21 years old and has shown flashes of being able to develop into a perennial all-star, with which the right coaching is a strong possibility. Thus, developing Dennis Smith Jr. looks like the right option for the Knicks at least for this upcoming year, as he is still a serviceable point guard for a contending team currently, and will most likely improve further in 2019-20. Overall, this trade lets the Knicks gain a superstar while still retaining much of their youth. Speaking of youth, the Knicks also have the 55th overall pick, in which I would take a center if I were them considering how depleted they now are at center after this trade, which is something I’ll get into later.
I mentioned it before, but the Knicks must go ALL OUT on Kevin Durant. Most likely a top-three player in the NBA, Durant is the type of player that any team that wants to win a championship must-have. He’s only 30 and doesn’t base his game off of his athleticism, giving him a good amount of years left as a star in this league, corresponding with the youth of Smith Jr, Trier, and Davis. Kevin Durant will be looking to become the highest-paid NBA player, which if I’m the Knicks I would 100% follow through with. Next, assuming the Knicks sign KD, they will have to add depth to a very depleted roster. Considering they now have very little at the center position, the first thing I would do would be signing, well, a center. The center the Knicks should be eyeing here is Brook Lopez. He adds a significant amount of spacing and defense to a team that is looking like they need both. The Knicks need to be able to give him an offer he can’t refuse in order to convince him to leave his Milwaukee Bucks. Even with a big offer, if the Lopez idea fails, there are some other great free-agent center options out there, and it’s likely the Knicks at least get one of those players (ie. Ivica Zubac, Kevon Looney, and even Nikola Vucevic). If even that doesn’t work out, Davis can always be moved to center and the Knicks can instead try for a PF. Moving on from center, the Knicks must add additional depth. Some players to think about here would be Nikola Mirotic, Marcus Morris, Dorian-Finney Smith, Cory Joseph, Rodney Hood, and TJ McConnell. If the Knicks are able to sign 2 of those players or players similar in skill and fit, then it would be a massive success. As for free agents on the Knicks right now, the upcoming ones are C DeAndre Jordan, G Emmanuel Mudiay, G/F Mario Hezonja, C Luke Kornet, F Noah Vonleh, and F saiah Hicks. The one player here I would really try to retain would be Emmanuel Mudiay as he adds some guard depth that may turn out to be very needed. Luke Kornet would also be good to retain considering the potential lack of center depth.
The New York Knicks have a lot of potential to very good in the upcoming years as long as they make the right moves. The moves I made are what I would personally do to steer them closer to this direction. The main thing for me was creating a team filled with superstar talent while still maintaining youth on this team and not losing too much depth. In order to succeed, that exact formula is what they should try their best to execute. After all, with all their draft picks and cap space, they may very well be able to gift the city of New York a championship.