Although the trade market for Washington Wizards star John Wall may not be loaded with potential suitors, it seems the New York Knicks are placing themselves in the mix. While the Wizards haven’t done much in terms of making players available via trades (at least publicly) after last month’s blow up, the Knicks are patiently waiting.
It’s unknown how long they’ll be waiting, but a potential deal to send Wall to New York seems possible at the very least. As Marc Berman of the New York Post reported, sources believe the Knicks are “stocking up their young assets” to make a run at the All-Star guard. He also detailed what may be included in a potential deal, which would need to be a three-team trade.
Some in the league believe the Knicks are stocking up their young assets and will make a major play for Wall if he becomes available. The Wizards (9-14) were said to be ready to break it up after their disastrous start. It would have to be a three-team deal with the Knicks throwing in [Frank] Ntilikina, [Damyean] Dotson, Courtney Lee (for cap purposes), a 2020 first-round and second-round pick.
The salary-filler additions are interesting, as there has been some interest in Frank Ntilikina around the league. Although the belief here is that the Knicks would be throwing those three names in to cover Wall’s salary, Ntilikina has some unknown upside while Damyean Dotson has played well.
The potential trade to send Wall to the Knicks could make sense for all teams involved, but there’s a chance it may not happen anytime soon. This comes thanks to a unique rule in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
John Wall’s Trade Kicker
One headlining detail of any trade for the Wizards star has to do with the trade kicker that’s currently attached to him. Recently, NBA analyst Tom Haberstroh joined Zach Lowe on The Lowe Post podcast and spoke about Wall as well as other potential Wizards trades. One thing which stood out was the topic of the huge trade kicker.
Haberstroh: “The trade kicker for John Wall right now is at $21 million that the Wizards would have to eat if they traded John Wall today. And next year, what you wrote is 100 percent accurate, which is – this is kind of a weird CBA quirk that the trade kicker would be 15 percent this year of his remaining contract, which is a huge number. It’s $20 million that they would have to pay just to get rid of him.”
Haberstroh goes on to point out that the number essentially drops to zero next season. In turn, he believes that any trade talks involving Wall should be pushed to next year and that none of the current deals are overly likely to happen.
Knicks’ Point Guard Situation
If you assume the Knicks follow through on trading Ntilikina (anywhere other than the Wizards), it could lead to the heavy lifting falling back on Emmanuel Mudiay. Although Mudiay has been in the league since being selected No. 7 overall in the 2015 NBA Draft, he’s just 22 years old. He’s also shown glimpses of legitimate potential through the start of the year in New York.
The Knicks have expanded Mudiay’s role as of late, and he’s played 36 minutes in each of the first two games of December. Prior to that, the 6-foot-5 playmaker received 20-plus minutes in all but two of the games he played in through the first 18.
Trey Burke will also continue to see a safe workload as well. Although his minutes have fluctuated a bit due to Mudiay, he’s consistently landed above the 20-minute mark also. The big question would be how both Burke and Mudiay’s minutes would be impacted if Wall were acquired by the Knicks. It’s highly likely that one of the two would fall out of the rotation altogether.
Time will tell, but the Knicks do have a few young pieces they could package with draft picks in order to land Wall. Whether or not it’s enough to get a deal done remains to be seen, and that trade kicker could force talks to stall until the offseason.