With Kyrie Irving now suiting up for the Mavericks, all eyes seem to be on Kevin Durant and his status with the Nets moving forward. Though reports suggest the superstar is likely to stay put past the trade deadline, should he be shopped, the folks at Bleacher Report seem to believe the New York Knicks have the best offer up their sleeve.
In a February 7 piece by the publication, writer Greg Swartz discussed in depth the desperation levels of each NBA team heading into February 9’s deadline and, when it came to the Knicks, he claimed that they have a medium rating on the “panic meter,” and noted that one of their deadline strategies should be to “sniff around” for potentially available stars.
In the hypothetical scenario that Durant becomes available for the taking, Swartz stated that, should Leon Rose and company throw their hat into the ring, they may be able to piece together the most enticing collection of assets in comparison to all other pursuers.
“With eight tradeable first-round picks, the Knicks should also be on the hunt for a star to put next to Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson, RJ Barrett and others…If Kevin Durant asks out of Brooklyn following the Kyrie Irving trade, the Knicks could offer perhaps the best combination of picks and players of any NBA team,” Swartz wrote.
In the event that the Knicks look to piece together a package to toss in Brooklyn’s direction, the front office would theoretically have several quality asset combinations to work with.
As Swartz noted in his piece, New York holds the rights to several future first round picks that could be included in a trade package, but the club also rosters a bevy of young and talented players who, assuming the Nets would look to embark on a rebuild if they opt to part with their superstar, could be incredibly enticing additions moving forward.
From guys like Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley to even the poison pilled RJ Barrett, should the Knickerbockers truly wish to acquire Kevin Durant before this year’s trade deadline they could easily piece together a worthwhile package that, at the very least, would make GM Sean Marks ponder on the idea of sending the 34-year-old to their cross-borough rivals.
Knicks Urged to Target Other Stars
In Swartz’s piece, Kevin Durant was by no means the only star talent mentioned as being someone he believes the Knicks should consider inquiring about, as he wrote that the team’s front office “should make calls to check on the availability of players like Bradley Beal, Zach LaVine, O.G. Anunoby,” in specific.
While any of these aforementioned players would certainly be a plus for the Knicks in the talent department, the most oft rumored target of the bunch throughout this year’s campaign has easily been Anunoby who SNY’s Ian Begley reported in a February 8 article is still someone the club has interest in pursuing though, as has been the rumor all year long, the cost to acquire him could prove to be rather steep.
“It will take a significant amount of picks/players to get Anunoby from the Raptors. The Knicks, as SNY reported, told Toronto earlier in the season that they would be comfortable sending three first-round picks for Anunoby. Members of the organization remain interested in the 25-year-old as of late Tuesday night,” Begley wrote.
Despite the expected lofty price tag, there are people like Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley who believe the 25-year-old is someone worthy of a team offering up “anything in their asset collection” for.
Considering his stellar two-way production and current averages of 16.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 2.1 steals on 36.6% shooting from deep, there’s an argument to be made that Buckley may have a point.
Knicks Engaged in Trade Talks With Jazz
On February 7, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reported that the New York Knicks have engaged in trade discussions with the Utah Jazz pertaining to the idea of sending 2020 lottery selected big man Obi Toppin out to Salt Lake City.
“The Jazz discussing a deal that would send Beasley and Vanderbilt to the New York Knicks – where Gersson Rosas, the former Minnesota Timberwolves GM who traded for them and gave them their current contracts handles most of the trade calls – for guard Evan Fournier (whose contract New York wants to shed), promising young forward Obi Toppin and draft compensation,” MacMahon reports.
The two parties have been linked to one another on several occasions prior to MacMahon’s report, as HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto stated on February 4 that both teams had held “exploratory conversations” regarding a trade proposal that would send Toppin, Evan Fournier, and draft compensation to Utah for wing Malik Beasley and big man Jarred Vanderbilt.
Though Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley believes the idea of seeing the 24-year-old power forward being sent packing is something Knicks fans might dread, it’s path he predicts the franchise will aggressively pursue.