Knicks Linked as Realistic Destination for $194 Million Superstar

Tom Thibodeau, New York Knicks

Getty Head coach Tom Thibodeau of the New York Knicks reacts during the first half against the Detroit Pistons.

The New York Knicks may currently find themselves on an upward trajectory, as they’re now winners of two straight and have come away victorious from three of their last four outings, but this hasn’t stopped the majority of fans and media pundits from believing that the organization should strongly consider making some major shakeups to their talent pool.

Perhaps one of the most noteworthy ideas of late regarding the Knicks has been the concept of Leon Rose and company contacting their cross-borough rivals in the Brooklyn Nets to try and strike a deal to land their disgruntled superstar Kevin Durant.

And though to some such a concept seems to be a bit farfetched, one NBA writer believes it to be a somewhat realistic scenario.

In a November 17 article by Bleacher Report, writer Eric Pincus went about and listed eight teams across the NBA that could be viewed as “realistic landing spots” for the star forward if he were to re-visit his offseason trade desires, and, amongst the group, New York was deemed as having one of the better possible trade offers to extend to Brooklyn in such a situation.

“In addition to all of its first-round picks, the Knicks have three protected firsts in 2023 from the Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards, and a 2025 first (in the 5-30 range) from the Milwaukee Bucks. That draft capital could be enough if both sides were eager for a deal,” Pincus wrote.

“Additionally, the Knicks have several young prospects to offer, like Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes, among others. Evan Fournier would probably be necessary for salary matching, along with at least one additional veteran like Derrick Rose or Mitchell Robinson.

“RJ Barrett could be included, but his contract is considered a poison pill ($10.9 million outgoing salary to the Knicks and $23.6 million incoming for the Nets)—but that wouldn’t be prohibitive.”

Pincus would continue by questioning whether Brooklyn would even consider a trade with the Knicks when taking into account their proximity and divisional rivalry, but, being New York’s offer could wind up being quite lucrative, nonetheless, he feels that the two parties could realistically get a deal done, be it straight up or via multi-team.

Knicks Proposal Lands Them Durant

This isn’t the first time the folks at Bleacher Report have suggested the idea of the New York Knicks pursuing a Kevin Durant trade this season, let alone this week as writer Greg Swartz proposed an exchange on November 14 that, in his eyes, could prove to be mutually beneficial for both parties.

The proposed deal by Swartz reads as follows:

New York Knicks receive

  • Kevin Durant

Brooklyn Nets receive

  • Julius Randle
  • Immanuel Quickley
  • Derrick Rose
  • 2023 first-round pick
  • 2023 first-round pick (via Dallas)
  • 2025 first-round pick
  • 2027 first-round pick

Citing their treasure trove of draft picks through the year 2027, Swartz believes that offering up a substantial portion of their collection in exchange for a player like Durant would be a fantastic way to spend their capital, especially if they can simultaneously part ways with the remaining four-years, $117 million in the process.

In fact, he believes that this deal would be the optimal way for the Knicks to jumpstart their ascent back up the Eastern Conference totem pole.

“For a Knicks team loaded with draft picks, dumping them for Durant and getting out of purgatory in the East makes them a true title threat,” Swartz wrote.

“A starting five of Jalen Brunson, RJ Barrett, Durant, Obi Toppin and Mitchell Robinson features plenty of scoring, and a bench of Quentin Grimes, Cam Reddish, Evan Fournier and Isaiah Hartenstein has talent with upside.

“Durant should be happy to get away from Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons and the uncertainty of the Nets’ core, landing in a far more stable environment, especially with Brunson now at point guard.”

Despite Brooklyn’s sub-par record of 6-9, Durant still finds himself putting forth a phenomenal individual showing to start the 2022-23 campaign, as he is boasting impressive per-game averages of 30.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.9 blocks on 52.4% shooting from the floor and 35.3% shooting from deep.

Swapping a player of his talents for the likes of Randle, a few role players, and a slew of future draft picks could easily prove to be well worth it for the likes of the New York Knicks, both in the now and well as moving forward.

Knicks Guard Sounds Off on Benching

Though the New York Knicks may be on somewhat of a hot streak and now sport a record over .500 at 8-7, they’ve done so whilst highly-priced swingman Evan Fournier has been primarily relegated to a low-usage bench role.

After starting in all 80 games he was active for in 2021-22, and the first seven games of 2022-23, the veteran now finds himself going eight-straight starting the game sitting on the pine, and has been a coach’s decision DNP over their last two consecutive contests.

Though some may find it easy to believe that someone in Fournier’s position would be bitter about a demotion within their team’s rotation when speaking to Newsday Sports beat reporter Steve Popper about his benching the 30-year-old seemed to be quite understanding about the situation.

“I always try to put myself in other people’s shoes,” Fournier told Popper, via Twitter. “Thibs is trying to find a solution. I don’t think he made that decision because he don’t like me or anything like it’s a personal thing. He just wants to win, man.”

Through 13 games played this season, Fournier finds himself posting lackluster averages of just 6.9 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.7 assists on 34.4% shooting from deep while the team has played significantly better when the wing has been off the floor.

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