Since hopes of seeing the franchise land Donovan Mitchell via blockbuster were dashed, as the guard was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers on September 1, fans and media pundits have been left to their imagination to figure out what the next venture for the New York Knicks could be.
With training camp slated to open in a week and their October 19 season tip-off just over a month out, it seems that the most likely scenario for the ball club heading into 2022-23 will be that they’ll now focus their attention on simply working with the foundation they currently have in place.
Of course, such an idea isn’t all that exciting for the majority of New York’s faithful followers, as many are still hoping to see a splashy move be made to help bolster Tom Thibodeau’s rotation.
Now, though there’s no credible source currently suggesting that the front office is actually looking to strike a big-time move anytime soon, in a September 16 episode of the “Knicks Film School” podcast, SNY’s Ian Begley mentioned one specific All-Star he believes could be a legitimate target should they wind up scouring the trade market.
That player: Andrew Wiggins.
Citing Golden State’s financial situation, Begley believes the Warriors could look to offload the final year of the star forward’s contract to create some much-needed cap flexibility moving forward and, in turn, the Knicks could be a team capable of helping in this area.
“Andrew Wiggins, because of the finances involved with Golden State and, you know, what they’d have to pay to bring him back in a luxury tax sense, like, that’s something that teams are going to keep and eye on,” Begley said.
Wiggins, who will earn $33.6 million this coming season, is likely looking to ink another lofty contract during next summer’s free agency period.
Still just 27 years old, the wing is coming off of his best season as a pro, as he finished the 2021-22 campaign with averages of 17.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.0 steal, and just shy of a block per game on 46.6% shooting from the floor and 39.3% shooting from deep.
With his high-end production Wiggins went on to participate in his first All-Star game and helped the Warriors claim their fourth championship banner in eight years.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Also Mentioned
Alongside Wiggins, Begley also noted that the Knicks could be interested in pursuing a trade with Oklahoma City for rising star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Considering the fact that New York was already heavily invested in acquiring a high-end backcourt talent in Donovan Mitchell for this coming season, it’s a popular belief that, with the three-time All-Star now in Cleveland, Leon Rose and company could set their sights on trying to land the Thunder’s incredibly talented combo guard.
According the Begley, the concept seems to be logical.
“The reason why logically it seems to add up to me is, just look at what OKC’s doing, look at what they’ve done. They’re stockpiling picks and, like, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander [is] incredibly talented, young yet you could see a world where, like, he’s kind of on a different timeline than the rest of the team,” Begley said.
“I mean, does a player where he is in his NBA career, does a player like that want to just put up numbers on teams that are terrible for the next few years? I think that’s why everyone’s keeping an eye on it.”
There is an argument to be made that a pivot from Mitchell to Gilgeous-Alexander could actually a better move for the Knicks, as some believe the OKC guard would be a better fit within the team’s backcourt alongside Jalen Brunson.
The 24-year-old finds himself coming off a career year in 2021-22, where he posted stellar averages of 24.5 points, 5.9 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and just shy of a block per game.
Mitchell Thought He’d Land With Knicks
When Windhorst asked the star how close he believes he was to being traded to the New York Knicks, he was very candid with his response.
“Very close,” he said. “I won’t say more than that, but I know a little bit more than most. Definitely very close.”
Mitchell would then go on to state that, though he didn’t end up heading back to his home state of New York, when he found out he was being traded to Cleveland he was “very excited.”