Proposed Blockbuster Sees Knicks Trade RJ Barrett for Former No. 1 Pick

Zion Williamson

Getty Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans and RJ Barrett of the New York Knicks meet on the court after an NBA game on October 30, 2021.

It seems like forever ago that photoshops of Zion Williamson under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden made up a majority of the general New York Knicks discourse online.

But it’s been just 996 days since he was drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans, and already, rumblings of a potential career in the Big Apple are recapturing headlines, given his shortcomings in the Big Easy.

The first overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft has played just 85 games over three seasons in the NBA, and there isn’t any firm timeline on a return to the floor in New Orleans.

And the longer that takes to develop, or if Zion Williamson maintains his radio silence, then the louder the aforementioned rumblings will grow.

The latest of which, comes from NBA insider Tim MacMahon, who’s put together a New York Knicks trade package for the former first overall pick.

McMahon Fuels Zion Speculation

On the latest episode of the Hoop Collective, an ESPN podcast, fellow insider Brian Windhorst posed the possibility of a Zion Williamson trade to the New York Knicks.

Tim MacMahon responded, with a shockingly steep proposal:

We’re starting with RJ Barrett, we’re filling out from there. I’m asking for Barrett and another one of their quality young players. And I’m asking for at least, four first-round picks. And if you don’t wanna, if you’re not willing to give that up, then I’m willing to wait…

He cited Leon Rose’s former role with Creative Artists Agency, and New York’s decade long star search as motivation for New York’s front office brass:

The CAA ties, obviously, and name a franchise that is more starved for that kind of marquee talent.

Fans didn’t take kindly to the idea, needless to say:

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Staff Writer for the Strickland and SB Nation’s Posting and Toasting went as far as to question if there was any player fans would be willing to make that offer for:

But ESPN’s Tim MacMahon isn’t the only national media voice that’s been unkind to the New York Knicks as of recent.

SVG Blasts Knicks Fans

For every optimistic New York Knicks fan photoshopping other team’s stars into blue and orange, there is a voice around the league waiting patiently for the team’s downfall.

Because similar to the Los Angeles Lakers‘ window from Kobe Bryant‘s retirement to the arrival of LeBron James, it’s been a series of star-less summers in the Big Apple.

New York’s latest critic comes from the brother of former team head coach Jeff Van Gundy, Stan, who most recently was head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans for two seasons for 2020-2021.

Van Gundy has elected to pop the bubble that’s built up on Knicks Twitter, around conjecture that Zion Williamson could end up bolting the Big Easy for the bright lights of Madison Square Garden.

On a recent episode of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, Stan Van Gundy was asked about the Zion rumblings in recent weeks.

And with next to no hesitation, he immediately started up a filibuster mocking the New York Knicks’ recent history:

It’s possible but listen. The Knicks have this thing & it’s amazing. No matter how many times people have proven they don’t wanna play for the Knicks, the Knicks have this idea that everybody in the league wants to play for New York. Now when is the last time it actually happened that somebody actually came and tried to get their way to New York? Like, never in the last 20 years?

Still, not even Van Gundy went as far as to rule out Williamson in the Big Apple:

I’m not saying he (Zion) won’t end up there…there’s all kinds of ways people can end up somewhere…but this idea that everybody wants to be a New York Knick…I mean if that were the case then they wouldn’t be as bad as they’ve been for the last 20 years.

Yet regardless of whether or not Zion Williamson’s future with the New Orleans Pelicans is worthy of question or not, New York Knicks fans don’t have any reason to think a future with the former Duke star is a non-reality.

As long as the package doesn’t start with RJ Barrett and four first-round picks.

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