If nothing else, it’s clear that Leon Rose and the New York Knicks front office have a plan in place. But what if that plan goes sideways next season?
For as much excitement preceding the arrivals of Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker, RJ Barrett’s development, and Julius Randle’s continued tenure, there is an equal amount of reasonable skepticism.
How would New York react to a season that falls short of all expectations?
Would they pivot to the trade market, something they’ve largely avoided under the arrival of the new regime?
There are a number of names that could be had by a team with the Knicks lot of draft capital and young talent.
One they’ve been linked to recently, by way of a mock trade proposal, is former first overall pick, Ben Simmons.
After five years with the Philadelphia 76ers, none of which have yielded more than one playoff series win, it seems the two sides are bound for an imminent and inevitable divorce.
SNY’s David Vertsberger thinks a deal for the 25-year old wouldn’t be the worst way for the New York Knicks to recoup a lost season, should things not go according to plan in 2021-2022.
Vertsberger: ‘The Perfect Tom Thibodeau Point Guard’
In his latest article for SNY, 5 non-Damian Lillard trades Knicks could make during 2021-22 season, David Vertsberger commended a New York trade for the former first overall pick:
It would be tough for the Knicks not to consider him at the right price. Simmons is an All-NBA level defender and is built to be the perfect Tom Thibodeau point guard, an effective downhill threat to score or create.
He’s not wrong. Simmons’ lack of a jumper wouldn’t be the worst fit in the world for a team that has two 40% three-point shooters in Julius Randle and RJ Barrett.
And as fans already know, he’s one of the best one-through-five defenders in the entire NBA.
One can only imagine what head coach Tom Thibodeau, long known for his defensive scheme, could do with Simmons.
But ultimately, it comes down to price. If you’re asking Vertsberger, there’s a deal that makes sense for both sides:
Still, if the price ends up being something around Evan Fournier, Kemba Walker/Derrick Rose and two or three picks/young players, New York should think about it.
If Kemba Walker were to have a standout year, and his chemistry with Evan Fournier looks the same as it did last year with the Boston Celtics, that’s not a bad start to the Philadelphia 76ers’ return package.
How many draft picks or young players would Daryl Morey ask of Leon Rose?
Because unless he has a breakout year, Ben Simmons’ value is still the lowest it’s ever been, and this New York Knicks front office isn’t known to be swindled on the trade market.
Simmons, Knicks Trade Remains Unlikely
There has been no mention of the New York Knicks amidst the reporting palooza that has been the Ben Simmons saga.
And that did not change with the latest update on Monday, courtesy of Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Philadelphia has conducted expansive discussions with several teams, including Minnesota and Toronto, but neither a Timberwolves package nor the Raptors’ proposals have appealed to the 76ers as of yet.
Simmons had a terrible run of things in the postseason, shooting just 25-of-73 from the free-throw line.
New York’s likelihood of participating in such a deal becomes even less likely when accounting for the current payroll, and the team’s inability to trade any of the players signed this summer for six months.
That goes for any potential role as a third party too, which the Minnesota Timberwolves are reportedly eyeing:
The Timberwolves have been motivated to find a deal for Simmons but would likely require a third team given their asset pool of Malik Beasley, Jaden McDaniels and D’Angelo Russell might not entice the 76ers.
In recent years, there haven’t been many “star trades” more complex than the Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers saga.
New York Knicks fans should take solace in the fact that not only are they not dealing with such unpleasantries, but are better positioned than their conference rival for the years to come.
For both of those reasons and so many more, don’t anticipate a Ben Simmons arrival to the Big Apple.