Building through the draft appears to be the New York Knicks‘ modus operandi as they look to develop a young, high-level core – it’s a method that has worked for contending teams such as the Boston Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies in recent years.
Over the last few years, New York has acquired multiple promising young talents via the draft, and due to their success, it looks like they will try to do so again on Thursday, June 23. Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett, Obi Topping, Immanuel Quickley, and Quentin Grimes, are all players who the Knicks selected and have begun to develop.
However, despite their commitment to rebuilding with youth, the Knicks are still short of a high-level point guard, and that’s something they need to fix immediately. According to Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report, there is a way for New York to have the best of both worlds in the upcoming draft, but it would mean sliding down a few positions to do so.
In his latest article, Hughes proposes the following trade
- Minnesota Timberwolves get: Evan Fournier, Derrick Rose, and the 11th Pick in the 2022 NBA draft
- Knicks get: D’Angelo Russell and the 19th pick in the 2022 NBA draft.
“The Knicks, meanwhile, add a point guard to take the playmaking burden off RJ Barrett while getting off the longer deals of Fournier and Rose (three and two more years, respectively, though both have team options on their final seasons). They can treat 2022-23 as an audition for Russell, with the worst-case scenario involving him walking away and freeing up substantial cap space a year from now,” Hughes reasoned.
With this year’s draft not projecting to be particularly deep, you have to wonder if Leon Rose and the front office could be enticed to slide down in order to finally add the point guard their team so desperately needs.
Why Would Minnesota Make This Trade?
Anthony Edwards continues to improve as an all-around offensive force, and in order for him to take the next step in his development, the Timberwolves need to put the ball in his hands more.
Unfortunately, with D’Angelo Russell on the roster, there aren’t many opportunities for Edwards to initiate the offense, and that could end up stunting his growth as an all-around offensive weapon. As such, moving on from Russell seems like the most logical option.
By making this trade with the Knicks, Minnesota will add some additional floor spacing and secondary playmaking in Evan Fournier, who could fit well alongside Edwards, while Derrick Rose would provide a reliable presence off the bench. Of course, both of the Knicks guards could also be used as trade chips further down the line, should the Timberwolves look to send out a package deal for a bigger-named star.
Of course, the additional bonus of moving up in the draft might also be of benefit to the Timberwolves, who could use some cost-controlled young talent as their roster.
Russell Makes Sense for New York
Let’s be honest, the Knicks’ chances of landing Jalen Brunson in free agency are slim-to-none, and the Kyrie Irving rumors are unsubstantiated at best. So, unless New York is smitten with TyTy Washington in the draft, or feels confident in striking a deal with the Sacramento Kings four the fourth pick, and a shot at Jaden Ivey, Russell is their best shot at landing a proven point guard.
This past season, the seven-year veteran averaged 18.1 points, 7.1 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per game while shooting 41.1% from the field. If given the opportunity, Russell could be the orchestrator New York needs, and that gives Barrett and Toppin additional freedom when playing off-ball – knowing that Russell is capable of finding them with timely passes.
As Hughes points out in his article, Russell is entering the final year of his $117 million contract, so if things don’t work out, the Knicks have significant cap space next summer, and if things do work out, they’re in prime position to re-up on Russell – it’s a win-win from a Knicks perspective.