“[I] Heard Knicks’ interest in James Harden, at the moment, is far from uniform throughout the organization. [The] Clippers have [a] strong interest in trading for Harden. [I] Would assume LAC’s interest is stronger than NYK’s presently. ESPN 1st reported Knicks’ interest in trading for Harden,” Begley tweeted shortly after news of a potential Harden trade broke out.
It is not the first time the Knicks have cold feet.
Last summer, they also pulled their punches in a potential Donovan Mitchell blockbuster trade. The Utah Jazz instead shipped Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers after finding the Knicks’ final offer underwhelming.
Trading for Harden represents a big gamble, as the 33-year-old superstar could only be a one-year rental.
“Harden is not extension eligible because he signed a two year contract last offseason. He is an unrestricted free agent in 2024,” ESPN front office insider Bobby Marks tweeted.
If the Knicks miss out on Harden, they will monitor Joel Embiid‘s situation in Philadelphia.
Rose was Embiid’s agent before he took the Knicks’ job.
Knicks Open up Midlevel Exception
The Knicks will have full access to their $12.4 million non-tax midlevel exception after Josh Hart opted into his $12.9 million player option.
Hart had the option to decline and sign a new deal, but his change of heart could make his wish come true — get reunited with his former Villanova teammate Donte DiVincenzo.
Yahoo Sports NBA insider Jake Fischer reported that people around the league believe DiVincenzo is New York-bound.
The trio won a national championship at Villanova in 2016. DiVincenzo and Brunson were college roommates and won another national title in 2018.
DiVincenzo, the 17th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, is coming off a solid season with the Warriors as a spark plug off the bench. The 26-year-old sharpshooter shot a career-best 39.7% from downtown while averaging 9.4 points per game, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals in a career-high 72 games.
Knicks Backup Plan Involves Bruce Brown
The Knicks will have plenty of rivals in DiVincenzo, as SNY’s Ian Begley noted in his June 28 report.
If DiVincenzo signs with another team, Begley pointed out that newly-minted champion Denver Nuggets wing Bruce Brown could be their backup plan.
Brown, who played in Brooklyn last year before going to Denver, will also have plenty of suitors, much like DiVincenzo.
According to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, the Lakers “are increasingly confident” they can sign Brown for the non-taxpayer mid-level exception starting near $12.4 million.
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon also reported that a return to Denver had not been ruled out, though Brown plans to meet the Dallas Mavericks after free agency opens at 6 p.m. on Friday.