Proposed ‘Dream Trade’ Lands Knicks $163 Million Guard

RJ Barrett, New York Knicks

Getty RJ Barrett, New York Knicks

With no basketball on the horizon, New York Knicks fans can begin looking ahead to the off-season, where trades and draft acquisitions reign supreme.

Luckily, the Knicks project to be active over the coming months, as the front office scrambles to improve the roster, and avoid a repeat of their struggles next season. High on the agenda is a point guard, closely followed by some additional scoring, and finally, a resolution to Mitchell Robinson’s future on the team.

Yet, according to Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, the Knicks should be dreaming a bigger and aiming for the stars, well actually, a certain star: Donovan Mitchell. The Utah Jazz’s crown jewel is rumored to be disgruntled in Salt Lake City following another abrupt ending to their post-season and his declining relationship with Rudy Gobert.

“You can criticize his defensive motor at times or quibble over his efficiency, but the truth is he’s a 25-year-old with three All-Star selections and a career 23.9-points-per-game scoring average. Talents like this don’t come along often, and that alone should have the Knicks exhausting every angle of this pursuit,” Buckley wrote in his recent article. 

Acquiring Mitchell would be a giant statement of intent from the Knicks, although as Buckley points out in his proposal, “the chances of it happening are fleeting,” especially as former Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge is now running the show.

Still, with so many young high-upside talents at their disposal, and the 11th pick in this year’s draft, New York could be tempted into making Utah an offer, even if it’s just to test the waters.

What Can the Knicks Offer?

Looking around the Knicks roster, it’s hard to see where their ‘big sell’ would come from in a trade package for a legitimate star, but, if you peel a layer off, the picture starts to become clearer.

First of all, there are multiple players entering the final year of their deals in New York including Nerlens Noel, Derrick Rose, Cam Reddish, and Kemba Walker, while the team also has RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, and Immanuel Quickley to dangle as potential building blocks of the future.

You can also throw in five first-round draft picks over the next four years, and Julius Randle if the Jazz want a player capable of slotting into their starting five and giving them a scoring punch. Put simply, no matter what the Jazz are looking for in return for their star, the Knicks have ways of getting there – although some of those ways might be unpopular with the fanbase.

After all, what good is trading for a star if it costs you half of your roster, especially as limited depth almost certainly spells another season on the outside of the playoffs looking in. However, the front office has kept their cap and player flexibility for this very reason, because when a viable star does become available, you’ve got to be willing to strike a deal, fortune favors the brave after all.

Adding Mitchell is Unlikely

It’s hard to envision the Jazz parting ways with Mitchell unless he hands in a trade request, which at this moment in time, looks to be a pipe dream. Utah is a small market team who rarely acquires premium talent via free agency, and as such, has to develop its stars through the draft.

It’s clear the Jazz’s front office wants to rebuild their roster around Mitchell, making him their centerpiece, so, no matter how badly the Knicks are pining after a star they overlook during the 2017 draft, they may have to continue biding their time before getting their man.

Of course, Jalen Brunson and Zion Williamson are other names being thrown around as potential acquisitions for New York, and should one of those deals come to fruition, the team’s treasure chest of tradable assets might not be as full – such are the difficulties of team building.

Still, if a player such as Mitchell becomes available on the trade market, you do everything in your power to make sure he ends up on your team.

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