Knicks Linked to $120 Million Star in Blockbuster Trade Proposal

Gordon Hayward of the Charlotte Hornets was linked to the New York Knicks.

Getty Gordon Hayward of the Charlotte Hornets was linked to the New York Knicks.

The New York Knicks have two different options this offseason. They could choose to continue to compete for the playoffs or they could tear things down and begin the rebuild process around young star RJ Barrett. Regardless of the direction they choose, moves need to be made.

If they want to compete, swapping out young players and picks for established veterans would be the move. On the flip side, if they want to rebuild, trading their own veterans for picks and young pieces should be the route to take. Well, one proposed trade sees them accomplish the best of both worlds.

Dan Favale of Bleacher Report concocted trades for every team with a lottery pick. For the Knicks, who hold the 11th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, he suggested that they trade their pick in exchange for Charlotte Hornets forward Gordon Hayward and two other 2022 first-rounders. Here’s the full trade:

Knicks receive: Gordon Hayward, Pick #13, PIck #15

Hornets receive: Pick #11, Evan Fournier, Mitchell Robinson, Kemba Walker

At first glance, this trade seems a bit clunky, but it could actually work out well for both teams involved.

Why Trade Makes Sense for Knicks Right Now

For the Hornets, this deal would allow them to move up in the draft while simultaneously getting off of Hayward’s massive contract. But for the Knicks, they would be adding a quality facilitator who could help them on both sides of the ball.

“New York’s side of the equation is easier to understand. Hayward may be injury-prone, but he has a much higher ceiling as a facilitator, self-creator and defender than Fournier,” Favale wrote. “He costs only a hair more next season than Kemba and Fournier combined, and what remains of his on-ball skills will alleviate a good deal of pressure on the rest of the offense—including, and most importantly, RJ Barrett.”

Hayward would give the Knicks another offensive weapon to play with. He’s a strong playmaker, shoots at an efficient clip, and can help out on the defensive end as well. He’d be great for helping the Knicks win now.

However, in a roundabout way, this trade also furthers New York’s rebuilding process.

Hayward Trade Helps Knicks Rebuild

Fournier is under contract through the 2024-25 season, making roughly $19 million per year. Walker will be off the books after next year, but trading him now would be beneficial, considering he’s no longer with the team. And lastly, Robinson will want to get paid this offseason.

However, trading for Hayward would allow the Knicks to clear up their books a year earlier. He’s only under contract through the 2023-24 season, meaning they would be free a year earlier. Plus, his skillset fits their needs a bit better than Fournier.

In addition, the Knicks would be “divesting one first-round pick into two,” as noted by Favale. For a team looking to improve for the future, adding two lottery-level talents instead of one could be a worthwhile investment.

Trading for a player on such a large contract seems a bit backward for the Knicks, but considering the layout of the deal, it could actually help them improve both right now and in the future.

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