Fan frustration with the New York Knicks is at a new high for the season with the team having lost six of its last seven games. Consequently, Knicks-centric trade chatter has become a popular pastime for armchair GMs and amateur hoops pundits alike on social media.
That discussion was further boosted on Monday by Shams Charania’s report that the Knicks are among the teams interested in making a play for embattled Sixers star Ben Simmons.
Wanting something and actually having the wherewithal to go out and get it are two entirely different things, however. And, according to team insider Ian Begley, New York’s path to procuring Simmons is a bumpy one.
In a report for SportsNet New York, Begley relayed that the Knicks may need some help in order to get something done with Philly.
Knicks Would Probably Need a Third Team
As relayed by Begley, the prevailing belief is that the Knicks would need to involve a third team in any trade designed to acquire Simmons.
It has been widely reported that Sixers GM Daryl Morey refuses to part with the former No. 1 overall pick unless he gets a major difference-maker back in return. And while Julius Randle made an All-Star team last season, he probably falls just short of being a player who gets a deal done here.
Moreover, Philly is already set at the four spot with Tobias Harris — who is averaging 18.6 points and 7.9 rebounds this season — being signed through 2024.
“They [the Sixers] have been consistent in wanting a top player [in return for Simmons],” a member of a rival team told Begley. “[The Knicks] would need to get creative.”
Beyond getting creative, though, the Knicks would have to part with some of their significant younger pieces as well. Per Begley, New York’s decision-makers “believed that they’d have to include RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley in a package to acquire a top player in his prime” last season.
It would seem that any big trade the Knicks could pitch would have to include Barrett just as a jumping-off point.
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The Knicks Do Have One Thing Working in Their Favor
Throughout the Simmons saga, one recurring aspect of reported trade packages has been Philly’s desire to receive multiple first-round picks and pick swaps, in addition to a high-level player. For example, Charania reported in October that the Sixers asked the Trail Blazers for three first-rounders and three swaps as part of a Simmons deal.
Although the Knicks are lacking for elite players, their coffers are brimming with draft assets.
As noted by Begley, the Knicks owns the protected rights to four first-round picks and six second-round picks over the next two drafts alone. Given the organization’s desire to win now, it would seem that Leon Rose and his brain trust would be willing to part with some of that if it meant getting a player of Simmons’ ilk.