Proposed Blockbuster Sees Knicks Swap RJ Barrett for $97 Million Superstar

RJ Barrett, New York Knicks

Getty RJ Barrett of the New York Knicks dribbles the ball up the court during the third quarter of the game against the Detroit Pistons.

The New York Knicks may have kickstarted a new winning streak as we now ring in 2023, but this is not to say the rumor mill from 2022 has found itself dying down with this turn of the calendar page.

Dating as far back as the early stages of this past offseason, the Knickerbockers have been viewed as a club looking to strike a splashy transaction to help bolster their current talent pool and, in the eyes of one sports pundit, such a move could see Leon Rose and company landing one of the game’s greatest players.

According to CBS Sports’ Sam Quinn, New York could prove to be a likely landing spot for All-World talent LeBron James should he look to part from the Los Angeles Lakers, and a possible trade scenario could involve RJ Barrett heading out to the West Coast.

“There’s a pretty simple RJ Barrett-for-LeBron construction here with perhaps a bit of extra draft capital involved,” Quinn wrote. “If James wants to strengthen his case over Michael Jordan, bringing the Knicks their first championship in over 50 years would probably go a long way.

The Knicks might not be so keen on committing to such an old star, but James offers them the clearest path they’ve had to the title in decades.”

James has been the subject of a bevy of mid-season rumblings with his recent comments suggesting that he doesn’t wish to spend the final years of his career playing in a losing environment, and, considering Los Angeles is coming off of a playoff-less 2021-22 campaign and find themselves sporting a sub-.500 record of 16-21 this year, they have sparked trade rumors surrounding the future first-ballot Hall of Famer.

James Has Oft Been Linked to Knicks

Despite being in his 20th season, LeBron James still finds himself producing at an obscenely high level.

Through 29 games played in 2022-23, the four-time champion and league MVP boasts stellar averages of 29.0 points, 8.2 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and a steal on 51% shooting from the field.

Throughout his legendary career, the 38-year-old has been found linked as a possible option for the Knicks on several occasions, with reports pertaining to his last free agency endeavor suggesting that he strongly preferred to sign with New York but, due to personal reasons, he opted for a deal with Los Angeles.

Even back during his infamous 2010 free agency era, insiders have suggested that the Knicks were his ‘first choice’, though a botched sales pitch coupled with a super team opportunity elsewhere led him down to South Beach to join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Now in the twilight years of his career, some are of the belief that LeBron James’ desires of donning the orange and blue threads could finally become a reality.

Knicks, Pacers Have Engaged in Trade Talks

Though Quinn’s stance on a possible union between LeBron James and the New York Knicks is mere speculation, reports are that the team’s front office is, in fact, still looking to strike a big time move on the trade market.

Recently, an Eastern Conference executive informed Heavy Sports’ NBA Insider Sean Deveney that the Knicks have engaged in talks with the Pacers revolving around a potential trade that would send third-year big man Obi Toppin to Indiana which, in the exec’s opinion, could prove to be a tremendous opportunity for the 24-year-old.

“There has been some talk between the Pacers and Knicks about Obi (Toppin). He fits in Indiana, especially if they keep Turner. Obi is a rim-runner, he has some toughness, he has athleticism. He needs minutes and a team that is rebuilding with young talent like Indy is a really good match,” the exec told Deveney.

The executive would continue by stating that the Pacers have extra first-rounders at their disposal which, considering the fact that many already believe the Knicks are stockpiling picks, could bode well for a potential deal to ultimately be executed.