Knicks Haven’t Called on 3x All-Star, Rumored Target: Report

Ben Simmons Knicks-Sixers

Getty Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons battles with RJ Barrett during a bout with the New York Knicks.

Any slacker worth their salt will say to keep people’s expectations of your output nice and low. That way, when you clear those bars with ease, you’ll leave them feeling all soft and fuzzy about the good job that you did. The New York Knicks have seemingly employed a different strategy, however.

By going on an incredible second-half run in 2020-21 and entering postseason play with a top-four seed, they have pushed their bar to a height that, as of now, appears to be unreachable.

“Overperforming last season was the worst thing that could have happened,” a veteran NBA executive told Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer. “You can’t take a step back in New York. Once you’ve set expectations, you have to fulfill them.”

Amid a 19-20 start, the Knicks have reportedly been eyeing some big-name players as a means to get back to that place where fans — and maybe even ownership — now expect them to be. Among those being considered as trade targets is embattled Philadelphia 76ers point-man Ben Simmons.

From the looks of it, though, Knicks president Leon Rose has yet to make a real effort to land the former No. 1 overall pick.

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The Knicks and Simmons have been linked in trade chatter since a mid-December report by The Athletic’s Shams Charania listed New York as a suitor. Before that, even, the Aussie was regularly namechecked by armchair GMs and trade machine enthusiasts in Knicksland.

Per Fischer’s intel, though, none of that deliberation about Simmons has actually translated to Rose and Co. actually attempting to make something happen:

The Knicks have internally discussed pathways to landing Ben Simmons, but New York has never phoned Sixers brass regarding any potential deal structure, league sources told B/R.

The hoops scribe further noted that the Knicks don’t have a direct path toward acquiring Simmons. He expects, as others do, that they would have to involve a third team in order to get Sixers president GM Daryl Morey the top-25 player he’s looking for as a return for the three-time All-Star.

Putting that kind of deal together would almost certainly cost the Knicks RJ Barrett, as well as other prospects and/or draft assets.

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The Knicks May Forgo the Home-Run Swing

Although the Knicks do have an intriguing mix of prospects, draft assets and moveable contracts with which to make a run at something of note, Fischer believes they’re more likely to shoot for incremental improvement. That may be the right play, too, considering the dearth of stars who appear to be available.

Again, via B/R:

New York appears more likely to tinker around the edges than swing for such a difference-maker. Other than Simmons, there are only a few big names circulating on the trade rumor mill: Jerami Grant, Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. There are simply far more buyers than sellers at this current stage of the trade market.


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