After a successful 2022-23 NBA season, the New York Knicks front office will likely be encouraged about the direction the franchise is heading in.
However, according to Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes, Leon Rose could look to expedite the Knickerbockers’ development by acquiring Karl-Anthony Towns via trade.
Hughes’ trade proposal looks like this:
Knicks get: Karl-Anthony Towns
Minnesota Timberwolves get: Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes, Evan Fournier and unprotected first-round picks in 2025 and 2027, 2024 first-round pick (via Washington), and a 2024 first-round pick (via Detroit)
However, Hughes does believe that in order to legitimately convince the Timberwolves to pick up the phone and discuss a potential trade for Towns, the Knicks would have to be willing to consider moving on from RJ Barrett.
“Because they’d probably have to include RJ Barrett to really get Minnesota’s attention, and because they’d need to send out Mitchell Robinson in a separate deal, the Knicks might balk at making such major changes for a player in Towns who hasn’t done enough winning to justify his supermax salary,” Hughes wrote. “They didn’t go all in for Donovan Mitchell, and it’s tough to argue Towns is a more valuable player.”
Still, Towns, 27, has all of the attributes needed to be a success in New York. The stretch-five would be an ideal pick-and-roll partner for Jalen Brunson, a perimeter scoring threat and legitimate rim protective, while also providing an upgrade over Mitchell Robinson.
Knicks Struggling to Get the Best Out of RJ Barrett
According to an Eastern Conference Executive, who spoke with Heavy on Sports’ Sean Deveney under the condition of anonymity, the Knicks are struggling to bring the best out of RJ Barrett.
“He did not seem to know how to handle playing with Jalen Brunson, and that is a concern,” The executive said. “He has had trouble adjusting to his role at every turn, and the Knicks don’t always seem to know what to do with him. They’ve tried him at the 2, they’ve tried him at the 3, they had him trying to run point for a bit a while back, and he just has not found a good fit. He’s the No. 3 option on that team now, and that has been a tough adjustment. You’d like to see him excel in his role, but that has not been the case for him at all.”
Tom Thibodeau Expected to Remain With the Knicks
According to another Eastern Conference executive who spoke with Deveney, Tom Thibodeau‘s job as the Knicks head coach is safe, with the veteran widely expected to be back with the team next season.
“Thibs has been up and down in the eyes of some, but for Leon Rose and the people in that front office that matter, he’s been safe all along,” The executive said. “They played well down the stretch and in the playoffs, and no matter what happens, it is a safe bet he will be back next year. He has his system in place, and if they get another star player to drop into that system, they’ll be a tough team.”
Thibodeau led the Knicks to a 47-35 record this past season and helped guide them into the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. As such, it’s unlikely the Knicks would begin to unravel the progress they’ve been making in order to change head coaches.