Proposed Knicks Mega-Deal Adds Another All-Star to Rising Core

RJ Barrett Knicks-Hawks

Getty RJ Barrett sits on the court during a game between the New York Knicks and the Atlanta Hawks.

In the hours before the NBA trade deadline hit on February 9, the New York Knicks were linked to a two-time All-Star with serious scoring chops in the Chicago BullsZach LaVine.

Shortly after the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley reported on the talks, however, SNY’s Ian Begley added the context that no deal was likely. And, ultimately, swapping out forgotten-man Cam Reddish for multitalented vet Josh Hart ended up being team president Leon Rose’s big move.

That trade has definitely paid dividends for the Knicks, who reeled off nine straight wins in its immediate aftermath. However, their current three-game skid has left some yearning for more.

To that end, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley just put out a feature that aimed to identify the “one trade every NBA team wishes it could make right now.” For the Knicks, the hoops scribe went with a revived Knicks-Bulls pact that would see a LaVine landing in NYC for a trio of young players and a draft asset.

B/R Trade Pitch Finally Brings Zach LaVine to the Knicks

Highlights: Zach LaVine scores 36 as Bulls defeat Houston RocketsFor more exclusive videos, please subscribe to our channel or visit —ADD US ON: INSTAGRAM: FACEBOOK: TWITTER: SNAPCHAT: LINKEDIN:

If we have learned anything over the past week, it’s that the Knicks — for all the strides they have made — are likely still a piece or two shy of being able to truly challenge the Boston Celtics and/or the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference.

Adding LaVine to the mix could potentially bridge that gap, assuming his knee holds up. Meanwhile, the Bulls are in dire need of a reboot, lest they remain locked into the purgatory that is the league’s middle ground. With all of that being the case, the scribe sees the following deal as a win-win:

  • Chicago Bulls receive F RJ Barrett, PF Obi Toppin, G Miles McBride and a top-four protected first-round pick in 2025
  • New York Knicks receive G Zach LaVine

Here’s how Buckley sees the deal impacting the Knicks:

It seems New York will inevitably come up one star short of escaping the East. Unless, of course, it could swing something like this.

The Knicks discussed a LaVine deal at the deadline… and he’s done nothing to play his way off their radar. LaVine could be the floor-spacer this offense needs to breathe, plus the third scorer who puts defenses into pick-your-poison scenarios alongside Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson.

Make no mistake, that’s a lot to give up for a single player. But Barrett has yet to fully cement himself as a cornerstone player, Toppin has barely carved out a consistent spot in the rotation and the jury is still out on McBride (although the talent there is apparent).

The draft pick is no small thing to part with, either. Given the protections on it and the abundance of picks Rose has accumulated, though, these are all things you can part with if you believe in a LaVine-Randle-Brunson core.

LaVine Has Been on an Incredible Tear of Late

There were few players in the whole of the Association who were as good as Brunson last month. Outside of maybe Giannis Antetokounmpo, he was probably the best player in the conference, logging a 27-6-4 line and leading New York to a 9-2 record in February en route to capturing Player of the Month honors.

Clearly, though, LaVine has picked up where the Knicks’ floor general left off. If Chicago can win some games, the March trophy could be his.

Since March 1 (a sample size of five games so far), LaVine is averaging 35.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists. Meanwhile, he’s connecting on a whopping 56.5% of his field-goal attempts overall and 51.4% of his tries from deep.

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