Heading into the 2023 NBA All-Star Game, the New York Knicks are already destined to be represented by the likes of Julius Randle and, based on recent events, the big man could find one of his teammates playing alongside him in Salt Lake City’s illustrious exhibition.
On February 5 The Athletic’s Shams Charania broke the news that the Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks executed a blockbuster transaction that sent point guard Kyrie Irving down to Texas.
Aside from the obvious discussions about how such a move impacts the ball clubs directly involved in the transaction, some were found discussing the ripple effects that could wind up affecting other clubs, with one, in specific, being the Knicks and their potential number of representatives heading out to the All-Star game.
“An Eastern Conference All-Star PG was just traded to the West… We know a guy who could replace that spot,” KnicksMuse tweeted in reference the Jalen Brunson.
Irving, an eight-time All-Star who was just voted into the 2023 contest as a starter, now finds himself heading out to Dallas which, though the league did away with the game’s rosters being assembled based on conferences, now finds the west with one more player heading into the game compared to the east, which begs the question: how will the league address this current predicament?
One idea, as KnicksMuse suggested, is that the east could be granted the opportunity to add on a new talent to represent the conference and Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News suggested one potential scenario that he believes could be considered.
On the day of the Mavericks, Nets blockbuster Shams Charania reported that Stephen Curry is expected to miss “multiple weeks” with a left leg injury. With this timeline Curry, a Western Conference player who was slated to serve as a starter for the upcoming All-Star Game, will now miss the exhibition, thus having the possibility of an injury replacement spot up for grabs.
Obviously with Irving now heading to Dallas, the easy solution to filling in the Warriors star’s spot is by simply slotting the 30-year-old into his place, though, as noted already, this still leaves one roster spot open and, more importantly, one-less Eastern Conference representative than Western Conference.
Should a replacement player be rewarded to an east talent, there are several who believe a deserving individual could be Brunson.
Knicks Big Believes Brunson Should be an All-Star
Along with KnicksMuse, New York’s own All-Star Julius Randle believes that Jalen Brunson is a worthy option to be selected to this year’s All-Star Game.
During a post-game media session following the Knicks’ February 2 win over the Miami Heat, Randle made it a point to mention that he feels his point guard should have been selected to the game in Utah along with him.
“Obviously it’s a huge honor man, it’s a lot that goes into it. A lot of trust and belief in myself and the people around me…Only thing that really sucks is that I think Jalen [Brunson] should be right here with me,” Randle said.
Since inking a four-year, $104 million deal with the Knicks this past offseason, Jalen Brunson has proven himself to be worthy of every penny spent by New York and has posted career-high averages virtually all across the board with 23.2 points, 6.2 assists, and 3.5 rebounds on 47.4% shooting from the floor and 40.4% shooting from deep.
Knicks Have a Possible Competitor for Top Target
The Kyrie Irving blockbuster may be considered the deal that marks the official start of the 2023 NBA trade season and, with under a week remaining between now and the deadline, the belief is that there may be a few more moves to be made this year.
Knicks fans, in particular, are hoping that their club is one that executes some sort of transaction and perhaps the worst-kept secret is that they are interested in pursuing Toronto’s rising star OG Anunoby as SNY’s Ian Begley noted on December 20 that New York already contacted the Raptors earlier in the season regarding the 25-year-old’s availability.
However, despite the franchise’s desires to land Anunoby, the Knicks are by no means the only team with an interest in acquiring the sixth-year veteran and, per a January 31 report by HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, the Memphis Grizzlies could be a real threat to make an offer.
“There’s been some speculation from a few rival executives that the Memphis Grizzlies could make a run at Anunoby given their surplus of draft picks in the years to come,” Scotto reported.
While the Knicks may be viewed as a popular landing spot for Anunoby should he be traded, considering the Grizzlies own all of their draft rights moving forward, hold the rights to Golden State’s first-rounder in 2024, and roster several quality young players which, according to Christian Clark NOLA.com, is something the Raptors would want back in exchange for their coveted player, they could prove to be a real threat to swipe the wing from Toronto.