Knicks’ 8-Time All-Star Target Could Be Available, But There’s a Catch

Allan Houston, William Wesley, Leon Rose, New York Knicks

Getty Executive Vice President and Senior Basketball Advisor William Wesley and President Leon Rose of the New York Knicks look on during the first half against the Chicago Bulls.

One of the All-Star wings on the New York Knicks‘ radar has been generating trade buzz, but like on the Bradley Beal sweepstakes, they are at the back of the line.

Los Angeles Clippers are toying with the idea of trading eight-time All-Star Paul George, according to NBA insider Marc Stein.

“League sources tell The Stein Line that the LA Clippers have left various rival teams with the impression through their Draft Week conversations that they are, at a minimum, attempting to gauge Paul George’s trade value and, to hear some describe it, giving real consideration to the idea of disassembling the Kawhi Leonard/George tandem,” Stein wrote.

However, it’s not the Knicks but two Western Conference teams are the frontrunners should the Clippers push for a George trade.

“[Damian] Lillard’s Trail Blazers at No. 3 in the draft and the star-searching Houston Rockets at No. 4, sources say, have been identified as potential trade partners if the Clippers decide that they indeed want to shake their roster up dramatically for the final season before the team moves to owner Steve Ballmer’s sparkly new Intuit Dome in Inglewood, Calif., for the 2024-25 campaign,” Stein added.

In May, Yahoo Sports NBA insider Jake Fischer reported that the Knicks will inquire about George’s availability as they look to add a star to their roster, which advanced to the second round of the playoffs this past season for the first time in a decade.

“I think absolutely, they’re going to try [to acquire a star], and they’ll call [Philadelphia], they’ll call Minnesota, they’ll call L.A. about Paul George,” Fischer told Sportsnaut’s Jason Burgos on May 19. “I think the Knicks are going to call far and wide to try to see what their draft capital can acquire and maybe a mix of certain players on the roster.”

The Knicks have a surplus of first-round draft picks, six of their own from 2024 to 2029 and four more from other teams with varying protections.

The Clippers gave up a haul for George in 2019 — five first-round picks and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who blossomed into an All-NBA First-Team player four years after the blockbuster trade. But injuries have robbed the Clippers a shot at an NBA championship with their All-NBA duo of George and Kawhi Leonard. When both are healthy, the Clippers are a dominant team with a 96-46 (.676) record.

George is represented by Creative Artists Agency’s Aaron Mintz, whose list of clients also include Knicks players Julius Randle, Josh Hart and Isaiah Hartenstein.

Knicks’ Shot at Paul George Is via 3-Team Trade

The Knicks may not have what the Clippers covet, but they could still be in play for a George trade. All they need to do is grease the wheels of a three-team trade, according to Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale.

“[The Clippers] are not on the precipice of rebuilding. A package built around some combo of Immanuel Quickley, R.J. Barrett, Obi Toppin and a caps-lock DRAFT HAUL won’t wow them. But three-team trades exist for a reason, and the sheer breadth of assets the Knicks can unload will start conversations that otherwise wouldn’t take place,” Favale wrote on May 20.

Karl-Anthony Towns Not on Trade Block

A George trade could be the Knicks’ best bet in landing a star this offseason after their other rumored target Karl-Anthony Towns is no longer available.

The Minnesota Timberwolves plan to run it back with Towns, Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards, according to The Athletic’s Timberwolves beat reporter Jon Krawczynski on Tuesday.

“With [Rudy] Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns already on max contracts, and KAT’s supermax extension set to begin in 2024-25, holding this team together over the long haul is going to be a challenge.

That has led to widespread speculation that Towns could be on the move. He is younger and much more versatile offensively than Gobert, so he figures to have higher value if he were put on the trade market. But president of basketball operations Tim Connelly and coach Chris Finch have said publicly that their plan is to move forward with the existing core, with both believing a full summer and training camp together, and improved health from Towns and Gobert, will be enough to solve some of the offensive problems the team had last season. Owners Glen Taylor, Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez are on board with that approach as well, sources said,” Krawczynski wrote.