While the Nets did make the postseason, the Knicks weren’t even able to compete in the play-in tournament despite securing home court advantage in the first round just one season earlier.
The offseason moves of adding Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker didn’t pay off for the Knicks and they are spending yet another summer looking for the long-term answer at point guard.
According to Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz, the answer to their problem might not be that far away. All they have to do is look over to their cross-town rivals the Brooklyn Nets and Ben Simmons.
Simmons to New York
A potential trade like this seems highly unlikely at first since it’d mean Simmons would never play a single game with the Nets despite Brooklyn giving up James Harden in a trade for him.
However this trade would make sense on paper for the Nets because it’d mean they won’t have to figure out how to play Simmons alongside Kyrie Irving considering the two of them play point guard. Instead they’d be able to acquire somebody who’d slide right into the lineup with Julius Randle.
This is the trade Swartz proposes:
New York Knicks Receive:
- PG Ben Simmons
Brooklyn Nets Receive:
- F/C Julius Randle
- G/F Alec Burks
- 2023 second-round pick
“The Nets don’t need Simmons with Kyrie Irving already at point and Kevin Durant frequently running the offense,” wrote Swartz. “Getting Randle (20.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists this past season) would beef up a frontcourt that’s cycled through end-of-their career vets in recent years.”
Randle had a down year coming off his All-Star campaign with the Knicks, and with his extension kicking in next year the Knicks would be on the hook for a big salary for a player they might not feel is worth it.
Why It Might Not Happen
RJ Barrett likes to operate with the ball in his hands, so sending Randle away in a trade would help alleviate the problems that arise there. Acquiring Simmons would however create the same issue, so the Knicks might have some hesitation there. Another issue that could pop up is the fact that Simmons will be coming off a back surgery and won’t have played in an NBA game in over the year by the time the next season begins.
That’s a lot to put on somebody who would be taking the keys to your offense. Playing in the spotlight that is Madison Square Garden could also be an issue for him. Players need incredibly thick skin to deal with the fans, and that also applies to Philadelphia, so that’s nothing new for Simmons.
Randle complained about the way the fans treated him this past season, and we’ve seen firsthand how quickly the fans can turn on a player, even if he is their star. All in all, this could be a trade that benefits both sides, but it’s hard to envision this happening since the Nets just got Simmons.
Then again, the NBA has a lot of craziness that happens in the offseason, so a trade like this can never be counted out entirely.