$215 Million All-Star Deemed ‘Top Target’ For Knicks This Summer

New York Knicks, Jalen Brunson

Getty Jalen Brunson of the New York Knicks celebrates after scoring in the second half against the Washington Wizards.

Fresh off a 47-win campaign and their first playoff series win since 2013, during the offseason the New York Knicks will likely be looking to bolster their collection of talent to better support franchise cornerstones such as Jalen Brunson.

In an effort to accomplish such a task, Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey suggests that the club’s top trade target this summer should be Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, as he suggests the All-Star’s top-flight athleticism and offensive explosiveness could be a tremendous compliment to New York’s backcourt.

“The New York Knicks finished the 2022-23 season with the second-best offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) in the league, but they got there in an unusual and potentially difficult to repeat fashion. They were 20th in effective field-goal percentage, but they took care of the ball and dominated the glass, which helped them regularly win the shot volume battle.

“As a hedge against a possible regression (and just a flat-out talent play), New York should cobble together some of what it offered for Donovan Mitchell last summer in an effort to land LaVine. He may not make a ton of sense for the mediocre Bulls, but within the context of the gritty Knicks and surrounded by a Tom Thibodeau defense, he and Jalen Brunson could make for a pretty nasty backcourt,” Bailey wrote.

Per Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer, the Bulls are “testing the waters” of the possibility of parting ways with Zach LaVine and the remaining four years of his $215 million deal this summer, and, in Bailey’s eyes, his services could be of great use for this Knicks team.

However, even with his long-standing ties to the franchise as being a desired trade target, recent intel suggests that such a move may not be all that realistic.

Zach LaVine Not Interested in Knicks

Despite his on-paper fit from a skills perspective, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reported Friday morning that Zach LaVine and his camp have no interest in being dealt to the Knicks.

Per the report, the Klutch Sports represented guard does not wish to be acquired by New York’s front office led by former CAA agent Leon Rose, who has “a reputation around the league of favoring clients of CAA.”

Zach LaVine is coming off of an impressive 2022-23 campaign where he finished off posting stellar averages of 24.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.2 assists on 48.5% shooting from the field and 37.5% shooting from deep.

Knicks, Clippers Discussed Paul George Trade

Zach LaVine may not be a star target for the Knicks to pursue should these aforementioned rumblings be true, but there are several other names that could be made available for the taking over the next several months.

New York already appears to have made a feeler call on one specific top-flight talent this offseason, as SNY’s Ian Begley reported on Thursday that Leon Rose and company had contacted the Los Angeles Clippers in regard to a potential Paul George trade.

“The Knicks and Clippers have had contact about a potential Paul George trade, per SNY sources. It is unknown if Clippers are willing to move George. @TheSteinLine reported earlier that Clips gave rival teams the impression that they were gauging George’s trade value last week,” Begley reported via his personal Twitter account.

Some such as Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer are under the belief that the Knicks will “absolutely” look to acquire a star this summer, and Paul George is one of the names he suggests could make sense to add to their current foundation.