The New York Knicks have spent the better part of the past five years stockpiling draft capital and clearing cap space which, to many, suggests that they are looking to make a major splash on a big-time blockbuster.
To this point, there’s no clear indicator of who Leon Rose and company are looking to target on the trade block, though, according to Philadelphia 76ers beat reporter Keith Pompey, the franchise is “praying” that superstar center Joel Embiid requests a trade out of the City of Brotherly Love.
“Leon Rose used to be his agent. Joel already owns a house up in New York, he’s had it for a while. And the worst-kept secret is that the Knicks have been compiling and keeping ahold of their first-round draft picks hoping, and praying that Joel Embiid asks out,” Pompey said during a July 22 appearance on Serious XM NBA Radio. “I can see that absolutely happening.”
Pompey would note in his segment that adding a player of Joel Embiid’s caliber would see this Knicks team be “catapulted to one of the top teams in the east,” and, frankly, it’s easy to see the argument for why.
After having signed a new four-year, $213 million extension with the Sixers last offseason the big man went on to claim the first MVP title of his illustrious career, posting astounding per-game averages of 33.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.7 blocks while shooting 54.8 percent from the field while earning his sixth All-Star and All-NBA nod along the way.
Knicks Not Interested in Star Center
Though Keith Pompey believes that the Knicks have a deeply rooted interest in pursuing Joel Embiid on the trade market, the same seemingly can’t be said about Minnesota Timberwolves star center Karl-Anthony Towns, as The Athletic’s Fred Katz reported on July 20 that the club’s asking price has swayed Leon Rose and company away from entertaining such a deal.
“According to league sources who have talked business with them, the Wolves have set a sky-high price on Towns, too. And according to another league source, in spite of what the constant speculation may tell you, the Knicks have not expressed any interest in trading for Towns,” Katz wrote.
One of the most talented centers in the game today, Karl-Anthony Towns has been rumored to be a serious trade option for the Knicks on many occasions this offseason, though Katz seems to suggest that any such rumblings may be more smoke than actual fire.
Since 2019-20, the 27-year-old has been plagued by a myriad of injuries, playing in less than 60 games in four of the last five seasons and was limited to only 29 games in 2022-23 due to a Grade 3 calf strain.
Despite this, however, when on the hardwood Towns is absolutely electrifying, and has sported averages of 24.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.1 blocks throughout this aforementioned span while shooting 50.8 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from deep.
Considering his injuries woes as of late, it’s reasonable that the Knicks are not interested in paying a king’s ransom for the talented yet unreliable big. That said, should the asking price reduce, expect rumors of interest to once again pick back up.
Spurs a Team to Watch in Evan Fournier Sweepstakes
Considering he was held to just 27 games in 2022-23 coupled with his recently surfaced harsh words regarding head coach Tom Thibodeau, many are expecting to see veteran wing Evan Fournier traded away from the Knicks this summer and SNY’s Ian Begley believes the San Antonio Spurs could be a team worth monitoring in such a situation.
“I have heard that a few teams – teams that seem like they could make the playoffs – have had interest in acquiring Evan Fournier. One other team that I am keeping an eye on is San Antonio. The Spurs are among those teams who have had interest in acquiring Fournier via trade,” Begley wrote.
Interestingly enough, during his recent interview with France’s L’Équipe, Fournier noted that he has an interest in landing with the Spurs, saying:
“It’s not the Spurs of 2014 anymore but playing for (Popovich, and learning from him, it would be a pleasure and an honor, for sure,” Fournier said. “Being with Victor, looking at the Olympics, being able to start chemistry on the court, that would be great.”