The New York Knicks have been searching for a point guard for years. They’ve gone through a long list of point guards including Raymond Felton, Emmanuel Mudiay, and Elfrid Payton, but none of them have quite worked out.
As the offseason begins, the Knicks are still on the hunt for a starting one. Kemba Walker was supposed to be the answer to their problems, but he fell out of favor rather quickly in Tom Thibodeau’s rotation. However, sources believe that the Knicks could have their eyes on a new point guard.
According to an anonymous Eastern Conference GM who spoke with Sean Deveney of Heavy.com, the Knicks could engage in trade talks surrounding Minnesota Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell. In addition, they believe the Knicks would have the upper hand in trade talks.
“If the Knicks give up Evan Fournier and Obi (Toppin), they do not have to give up a lot more than that, maybe they get off Nerlens’ (Noel) contract, too. They should not have to give up a pick in that, either, maybe a second-rounder, but they can play hardball with the Timberwolves and probably win the deal.” the GM said.
However, while the Knicks would likely be able to low-ball the Timberwolves, there is one thing standing in the way of a trade.
Russell’s Relationship is Something to ‘Worry About’
When Minnesota traded for Russell, the main reasoning behind the deal was his friendship with big man Karl-Anthony Towns. According to the GM, that could be the main thing preventing the Timberwolves from trading the guard.
“[The Timberwolves] have a couple of problems there,” the GM said. “They’d like to move Russell but he is a good friend of KAT’s and you have to be aware of keeping the chemistry together in that group, it took a long time to get to the right place. If Tim (Connelly) goes in there and starts picking it apart, it sets up some awkwardness, maybe some bad feelings among your top guys. So that’s something you’d have to worry about.”
Creating a rift between the franchise and Towns is the last thing the front office wants, as he’s been their best player for the better part of the last decade.
However, while that could get in the way of trade talks, the Knicks do have a big-time advantage if Minnesota does decide to bite the bullet and trade Russell.
Knicks Are ‘Only Ones’ Showing Interest
According to the GM, if Russell does hit the trade market, New York would likely be one of the only teams picking up the phones to ask about a trade. That gives them a huge advantage.
“The other thing is, what kind of market is there for D’Angelo Russell? He is in the last year of his contract and you could get him for one year and ($31) million, for a guy who is good but not great. A guy who is about an average NBA starter. There are not a lot of teams that need a big-money point guard right now. The Knicks are really the only ones, that’s why they’re in a pretty good position with this market,” the GM explained.
Losing Toppin would likely be the only thing holding the Knicks back from trading for Russell, but if they can find a deal that works for both sides, he could be a solid point guard to lead the team next season.