After spending several weeks in the dead zone, the New York Knicks have shown signs of life in recent days, winning three games in four tries and making the 46-22 Grizzlies fight for a win on Friday. Meanwhile, the team has gotten improved play from the point guard position.
While he continues to be miscast as a lead ball-handler by Tom Thibodeau, wing Alec Burks acquitted himself as well as can be expected against Memphis. In 35 minutes on the court, the veteran put up 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting and added six rebounds and five assists.
Meanwhile, the five-man lineup with Burks at the point alongside Evan Fournier, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson has actually outscored opponents by 2.4 points per 100 possessions for the year.
That said, the Knicks are still just 13-17 in the games where they’ve used that combination of players. So, while Burks has had fleeting moments of competency as the quarterback, he’s not a long-term solution there (again, he’s not even a point guard).
As such, Knicks president Leon Rose will likely look for a better option this summer. And a former top-10 pick and 20-point scorer entering restricted free agency may just be the answer.
Knicks Could Make a Play for Cavs’ Collin Sexton
Entering the 2021-22 campain, Collin Sexton still bore the look of a cornerstone piece for the Cavs. Sure, the team just drafted Evan Mobley No. 3 overall and Darius Garland — who earned his first All-Star nod in February — was rising, too, but Sexton was the one who had been there and done that as a No. 1 option.
Last season, the 23-year-old put up 24.3 points, 4.4 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game with shooting splits of 48-37-81.
Alas, Sexton tore his left meniscus just 11 games into the current campaign. And, in his absence, Garland has emerged as the clear lead dog in Cleveland’s attack. Moreover, the team’s backcourt has grown more crowded with the team trading for Caris LeVert.
Given those developments, not to mention the fact that he’ll be coming off a major injury next season, the Cavs may be inclined to let Sexton walk — or to get something out of him via sign-and-trade.
Enter the Knicks who, after the Kemba Walker experiment went horribly awry, should look to acquire a floor general on the rise as opposed to another one on the way down.
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Sexton & Barrett Could Lead Knicks Into the Future
Regardless of what happens with Randle, who has regressed after a career-best campaign in ’20-21, Barrett should be viewed as the future of the franchise. He can’t will the Knicks back onto the winning path himself, though, and Sexton — who’s only a year and a half older than the former No. 3 overall pick, could be an ideal dance partner.
Although he’s more of a combo guard, the Cavs baller has played 79% of his career minutes at the point, per Basketball Reference‘s position estimate. And he posted a career-high assist percentage of 22.6 last season.
Sexton and the Cavs had done some work on a possible extension over the summer, but the two sides ultimately failed to come to an agreement. Per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the baller was seeking a deal worth $100 milllion over four years.
While that amount is nothing to sneeze at, New York will have multiple expiring deals it can offload this offseason to make room for that kind of contract. Or, they can package some of their vets with a young gun or two and draft assets in a sign-and-trade scenario.
Given what transpired after he was traded to the Knicks, Cam Reddish could be included in discussions along with Walker and another vet. Moreover, Rose has a slew of picks with which he can sweeten an offer.