If the New York Knicks want to become a championship-caliber team, they need to follow up their off-season acquisition of Jalen Brunson with another big swing for an additional star.
According to Rob Schafer of NBC Sports Chicago, one player the Knicks could potentially acquire is Zach LaVine, assuming that the Chicago Bulls are ready to hit the reset button after a disappointing start to the season.
Schafer’s proposed trade looks like this:
Bulls receive: RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, salary filler, multiple first-round picks
Knicks receive: Zach LaVine
“The only question is how deep into the trove of assets the Knicks would want to go for LaVine. Perhaps after striking out on Donovan Mitchell in the offseason, they will be motivated, although LaVine is one-and-a-half years older, has a more checkered injury history and has not produced to Mitchell’s level this season,” Schafer wrote.
LaVine is currently having a solid season for the Bulls, averaging 22.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game while shooting 45.8% from the field and 38% from deep.
Knicks Could Trade Obi Toppin
According to an Eastern Conference Executive, who spoke with Heavy on Sports Sean Deveney under the condition of anonymity, Obi Toppin is drawing interest from the Indiana Pacers, and the Knicks could be willing to discuss a trade in the near future.
“There has been some talk between the Pacers and Knicks about Obi (Toppin). He fits in Indiana, especially if they keep Turner. Obi is a rim-runner, he has some toughness, he has athleticism. He needs minutes and a team that is rebuilding with young talent like Indy is a really good match,” the executive said.
If the Knicks are truly willing to move on from Toppin, who they drafted with the eighth overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, then doing so for some additional draft assets would make perfect sense, as it would bolster the Knicks’ position when trying to deal for a disgruntled star such as LaVine.
Julius Randle Is Finding His Best Form
After a torrid 2021-22 NBA season, Julius Randle seems to have rediscovered his confidence. He is now playing some of his best basketball for New York, re-establishing himself as an integral member of their roster as a result.
Over his first 38 games of the current season, Randle is averaging 24.2 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game while shooting 56.2% from two-point range and 34.8% from deep.
If Randle can continue to be a focal point of the Knicks’ offense, and Jalen Brunson can be the player he’s showing himself to be, adding a true play-creating star such as Zach LaVine could propel the Knicks into a whole new stratosphere, so it makes perfect sense why New York would be willing to discuss the framework of a trade.
Whether the Bulls are receptive to those discussions is a totally different question. Luckily, there is only another month until the February 9 trade deadline, at which point we will know what this Knicks team looks like, one way or another.