3 Stars the Knicks Could Target During the Off-season

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Brooklyn Nets, mikal bridges, knicks
Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have strategically augmented their roster over recent seasons, acquiring draft picks and securing players with favorable contracts, all with the vision of assembling a championship-caliber team. Despite the setbacks of numerous injuries this past season, which thwarted their chances, the Knicks remain hopeful.

With the off-season approaching, the focus is on potentially re-signing key players such as Isaiah Hartenstein and OG Anunoby, and making pivotal decisions regarding extensions for Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson.

As the Knicks look to the trade market to bolster their lineup, three high-profile players stand out as potential game-changers who could elevate the team to the ultimate goal of winning a championship.

Potential Trade Targets for the Knicks

  1. Kevin Durant

Despite being 35 years old and having 17 years of experience, Kevin Durant is still an elite player with tremendous scoring qualities.

Next season, Durant will be 36 and have a $51.1 million cap hit, but the Phoenix Suns may be willing to trade him away and take on some of that salary. Phoenix has struggled to piece together a winning team, lacking defense and the right fit for some of their players.

Durant is coming off a season where he averaged 27.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, five assists, shooting .523 from the field, .413 from beyond the arc, and a .581 effective field goal percentage. Durant ranked ninth in MVP voting and was once again an All-Star. Durant remains one of the most prolific scorers in the game and certainly would be a tremendous asset during the postseason when the Knicks need to up the tempo and spread the ball around.

The question is, what would the Suns want in return for Durant? The Knicks would likely have to offload one of their big contracts, which could mean swapping Julius Randle and draft picks in exchange for future Hall of Famer.

NBA: Playoffs-Phoenix Suns at Minnesota Timberwolves, kevin durant, knicks
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Devin Booker

If the Knicks want to go younger and offer Brunson a bit more support, Devin Booker could be a player to pursue. Booker is on a four-year, $221 million deal with an estimated $49.3 million cap hit next season. That salary hit will only increase until the 2027–28 season when he’s earning $61.2 million at 31 years old.

Booker is one of the league’s most efficient scorers, as a four-time All-Star and All-NBA guard. This past season, Booker averaged 27.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and shot .492 from the field and .364 from downtown. He’s not the most efficient defender, but Booker can operate as a point guard and help spread the ball around, taking pressure off Brunson to be the lead man at all times.

The Knicks would have to hope that Booker’s contract doesn’t bite them in the butt down the road, so there is a tremendous amount of risk, especially since he’s a high-volume scorer and may not exactly fit their mold.

Dec 15, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) drives between New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) and  guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) in the first half at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 15, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) drives between New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) and guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) in the first half at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Mikal Bridges

There may not be a better fit for the Knicks than Mikal Bridges, who is currently being held hostage by the Brooklyn Nets.

The Nets refuse to trade him and refuse to build around him, so this off-season could be interesting if he forces his way out. If the Nets break and decide they’re open for business, the Knicks should be the first one knocking on the door. Bridges is another Villanova product on a four-year, $90.9 million deal he signed originally with the Sunds. He’s under contract for two more years with a $23.3 million hit next season and a $24.9 million hit during the 2025–26 season. This is extremely affordable for a player of his caliber, who is heavily underutilized in Brooklyn.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Brooklyn Nets
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Bridges is a solid defensive player, but he recorded his lowest points per game since 2021, clocking in at just 19.6 last season. He also contributed 4.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists, shooting .436 from the field and .372 from downtown with a .521 effective field goal percentage.

Brooklyn’s offense was simply inadequate, and their defense was inconsistent, so by injecting Bridges into an equation that already has several Villanova players and an extreme amount of discipline, he would fit like a glove.

Again, Bridges would be the perfect fit if the Nets were willing to negotiate, and the Knicks certainly have the resources to make it happen.

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