Proposed Knicks Trade Swaps RJ Barrett & Immanuel Quickley for $176 Million Star

RJ Barrett, New York Knicks

Getty RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley of the New York Knicks celebrate a point during the second half at Madison Square Garden.

The New York Knicks have put themselves in a good position here in 2022-23, but they’re still a ways away from being considered a legitimate contender. With the likes of Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson leading the charge, the Knickerbockers appear to have a highly effective one-two punch moving forward.

Unfortunately, the club’s hoped-to-be third cog, RJ Barrett, has underwhelmed in his new tertiary role which has some such as Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report questioning if he should be viewed more as a rotational staple or a trade asset once this current campaign comes to a close.

Should they label him more as the latter, NBA legends and current Showtime Basketball personalities Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce proposed the groundwork of a trade that would see the Knicks swap the 22-year-old out in exchange for Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.

The hypothetical deal discussed reads as follows:

Knicks receive: Damian Lillard

Trail Blazers receive: RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, draft compensation

Stating that the Portland Trail Blazers should strongly consider trading away their franchise point guard following the conclusion of this campaign, the duo noted that he could stand to benefit from playing with a star big man.

With Randle having yet another All-Star season, Garnett and Pierce believe a Lillard to the Knicks narrative is something that needs to be pushed.

Knicks ‘Have to Give Up’ RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley

When discussing possible landing spots if he’s shopped, Garnett stated that if Damian Lillard were to land with the Knicks, his all-time status would have the chance to skyrocket.

“Listen, if [Damian] Lillard gets to New York and he does what he does in Portland…he’ll be considered one of the best to ever do it,” Garnett said. “If he has 71 in [Madison Square Garden] like he did in the Rose Garden…it’ll be bigger than life.”

When discussing what it would likely have to take for the Knicks to strike a deal for the $176 million superstar, Pierce was adamant about the fact that it would almost certainly come at the expense of both RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley.

“They can give up [Immanuel] Quickley and some picks…You gotta give up Barrett. You gotta give up Barrett and Quickley,” Pierce said.

On the surface, giving up both Quickley, who finds himself amid a potential Sixth Man of the Year-winning campaign, and Barrett along with what one should expect to be a significant amount of draft capital may seem to be a lot for a team that already appears to have their franchise guard in place with Brunson.

However, because the 26-year-old has an established track record of not only being able to co-exist with a superstar guard, as he did so throughout his previous tenure with the Dallas Mavericks alongside Luka Doncic, but thrive, one could argue that, at the very least, it should be viewed as a move worthy of consideration.

Now in his 11 season in the association, Damian Lillard has put forth yet another sensational campaign from an individual perspective.

Through 57 games played, the seven-time All-Star has posted immaculate averages of 32.2 points, 7.3 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game on 46.3% shooting from the floor and 37.1% shooting from distance.

Unfortunately, his efforts have once again been for naught as the Blazers look to be heading toward their second consecutive playoff-less finish, thus sparking the rumors that he and the franchise could be heading toward a split this coming summer.

Knicks Could Trade For Stars ‘If They Needed To’

In a recent episode of the Hoops Collective podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst made the bold claim that he believes the Knicks could look to make some serious noise in the near future via the trade market “if they needed to,” all while holding onto their two key centerpieces.

“In my view, they could trade for two star-level players…They can hold Jalen Brunson, they can hold Julius Randle and they could make two giant trades. Now, whether they can hold Brunson, Randle, and [RJ] Barrett and make two giant trades, that would depend on the players, but there is even a window that they can hold all three of those and make two giant trades,” Windhorst said.

With several quality young talents in tow coupled with their ownership of a slew of draft picks over the next several seasons, it’ll be interesting to see how the Knicks’ decision-makers will look to continue building toward a contender in the coming years.


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Lionel Dubinsky
Lionel Dubinsky
5 months ago

Lillard is a fine player

as is Quickley

bit if the Knicks are gonna give up Quickley and Barrett
they should be looking for someone younger than Lillard