The New York Knicks should start a Snow Patrol cover band. But instead of singing “Chasing Cars,” they should title the song, “Chasing Stars.” With the draw of New York City in their back pocket, it seems like the Knicks are always rumored to be on the hunt for a superstar.
Two offseasons ago, those stars were supposed to be Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. However, the pair decided to team up on the Brooklyn Nets instead. There have been a ton of rumors over the years, but the most recent one brings things full circle.
According to Bookies.com, the Knicks are the favorite to land New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson this offseason, outside of his potential return to The Big Easy. The Pelicans are technically the odds-on favorite, but among potential new landing spots, the Knicks are on top.
Knicks fans spent the entirety of 2019 drooling over Williamson (and vice versa), as they had the best odds to land the top pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. However, when the ping pong balls were drawn, the Pelicans got the honor of selecting Williamson.
But now, with the recent drama surrounding Williamson and his contract, the Knicks could have a second shot at landing the star.
Pelicans Hesitant to Give Williamson Big Contract
Williamson was just recently cleared to play again after missing the entirety of last season with a broken foot. However, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Pelicans are not willing to give him a guaranteed contract.
“From what I have been told, the Pelicans, at this point, are not willing to offer a full five-year guaranteed deal. And a lot of it is flowing down from ownership,” Windhorst said.
The owner of the Pelicans, Gayle Benson, also owns the New Orleans Saints. According to Windhorst, he plans on taking a football-esque approach to the situation by not guaranteeing the full deal.
“Gayle Benson, the owner, is also the owner of the New Orleans Saints. And I have been told they’re going to take a football-style, Saints-style mentality with this contract negotiation. They will offer him a huge contract but will not guarantee all of it,” Windhorst reported.
Whether or not Williamson would be on board with that contract is yet to be seen, but if it upsets him, then the Knicks could swoop in and attempt to facilitate a deal. However, getting that done wouldn’t be easy, as Williamson is likely one of the most valuable players in the league.
Potential Williamson-to-Knicks Trade Pieces
At 21 years old, Williamson still has his entire career ahead of team. Lots of teams around the NBA would love to have him as their franchise centerpiece, but New York presents a prime landing spot due to the big market and the presence of Williamson’s former Duke teammates RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish.
Now, Julius Randle could be included in conversations, but with the way his season turned out last year, the Pelicans probably wouldn’t want him back. (He played in New Orleans during the 2018-19 season.)
That would leave the Pelicans choosing from an assortment of veterans and young pieces such as Evan Fournier, Derrick Rose, Alec Burks, Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley, and Quentin Grimes. The Knicks would likely have to throw in the 11th-overall pick, too.
Whatever the deal would end up being, just know that New York would have to give up a big-time package in order to secure the services of the former first-overall pick.