The NBA landscape apparently was close to looking a whole lot different just two years ago if one blockbuster deal had gone through. While the Phoenix Suns are in the midst of building their young core around the likes of Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton, that nearly wasn’t the case. If the New York Knicks had opted to make a blockbuster deal with the Suns, there’s a chance the entire outlook for multiple teams would have been impacted.
As Marc Berman of the New York Post reported, the Suns were ready to trade Booker and a swap of first-round picks to the Knicks in exchange for Kristaps Prozingis.
“Twenty months ago, the Celtics offered a boatload of young assets, and the Suns were prepared to ship Devin Booker and swap a draft pick that would have placed the Knicks in position to draft Lauri Markkanen. Former team president Phil Jackson thought the Finnish big man was built sturdier than Porzingis and would become more durable.”
This reported offer came at a time when former Knicks president Phil Jackson was considering trading Porzingis, a conversation which came with plenty of backlash. When looking at that draft situation and the potential swap, Dan Feldman of NBC Sports pointed out that the Suns had the No. 4 pick while the Knicks sat at No. 8 overall.
Outlook of 2017 NBA Draft
While the Knicks wound up selecting Frank Ntilikina with their first-round selection in that draft, the Suns took Josh Jackson. But in the picks between those two teams, fans saw De’Aaron Fox, Jonathan Isaac and Lauri Markkanen come off the board. Although Isaac is still continuing to grow as a player, Fox and Markkanen have become talented NBA players, making this tough news for the Knicks.
Obviously, Porzingis suffered a torn ACL which derailed things a bit, but since that point, the team has opted to trade him to the Dallas Mavericks. The move came prior to the 2019 NBA trade deadline and set the Knicks up with a chance to make a big push in free agency.
Updated Outlooks and Impact of Possible Deal
Regardless, it’s hard to argue that the idea of pairing Markkanen with Booker in New York wouldn’t have led to things looking different at this point for the franchise. The same can be said for the Suns and Porzingis, although they have to feel at least somewhat decent about the current upside of the roster, assuming the current plan stays on track.
If this deal had gone through, it would have had a ripple effect on a wide range of teams, including the Mavericks. Dallas, who seems poised to sign Porzingis for the long term, wouldn’t be in this spot and their recent trade deadline deal could have been with another team for another big name.