There’s no question that a worst-case scenario for either the Los Angeles Lakers or New York Knicks would be a big swing and miss during NBA free agency. With a plethora of high-profile targets likely to be on the market, both teams are looking to turn into legitimate title contenders overnight.
But the question of what happens if one (or both) teams miss on their free-agent targets is something that should at least be considered. In a recent report from Sean Deveney of Sporting News, it’s “likely” either the Lakers or Knicks will strike out in free agency. If that happens, their sights may turn to a trade for Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul.
Charlotte and Miami are among the teams that could be interested in Paul. Phoenix is weighing its options at point guard, but there is an outside chance they’d get involved. And keep an eye on the Lakers or Knicks – it’s likely that one of them will strike out in free agency and need a face-saving trade to rescue the summer. Paul is a face-saving trade target.
While there’s little question that this wouldn’t be the ideal route for either party, Paul would at least provide another talented option to add to one of the two rosters. Obviously, he and LeBron James are also close friends, so if there’s a big push from the Lakers to add him, that could wind up as the more likely of the two trade destinations.
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Lakers’ Free Agency Rumors & News
The Lakers have specifically been linked to having interest in the likes of Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving to this point. Specifically, NBA analyst Ric Bucher joined The Herd with Colin Cowherd recently and said Irving is down to the Lakers and Brooklyn Nets, via FOX Sports Radio.
“The latest that I’ve heard is that it’s between Brooklyn and the Lakers. And I’ve heard that the Lakers – and Kobe Bryant indicated to me that he was not involved … but I was told in the last 24 hours, Kobe has been busy recruiting Kyrie, in particular, to try to get him to the Lakers. Everything that I’ve heard, I would still expect that Kyrie is going to go to Brooklyn, that’s the odds-on favorite. And if we’re going to continue our real estate, he just bought a place in South Orange.” Bucher said.
At this moment, this doesn’t mean a ton, but if it proves to be true, LeBron and company would have to make a bit of a push to convince Irving to head to Los Angeles instead of Brooklyn. This rumor also directly impacts the Knicks and their own focus in free agency.
Knicks Free Agency Rumors: Kyrie Irving & Kevin Durant
It seems like the same topic of discussion and rumor has floated around the Knicks since very early on in the 2018-19 NBA season. The expectation/belief was that the Knicks would have a real chance to land both Irving and Kevin Durant, pairing up two stars to help revamp the franchise and make them instant contenders.
That very well still may play out, but we’ve seen free agency provide plenty of twists and turns in previous years. Regardless, if the Knicks do manage to land both Irving and Durant, it would be arguably the biggest single stretch of free agency in recent NBA history and immediately changes the outlook in New York.