Knicks are in play to trade for two superstar forwards this summer

Apr 9, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA;  (New York Knicks) LA Clippers forward Paul George (13) handles the ball against Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (35) during the first quarter at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks may have a shot to add an elite forward next to Jalen Brunson in the trade market this summer. Reports have broken that Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers and Kevin Durant of the Phoenix Suns may ask for a trade from their respective franchises once the season concludes, making them prime targets for the Knicks to pursue.

Knicks could capitalize off of the Clippers low-balling Paul George in contract extension offers

Los Angeles Clipper forward Paul George (13) dribbles the ball against New York Knicks shooting guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden
Nov 6, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Los Angeles Clipper forward Paul George (13) dribbles the ball against New York Knicks shooting guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Shams Charania of FanDuel’s “Run it Back” recently revealed that the Clippers have offered multiple contract extensions to George that fell below the max and that while they’ll keep trying to ink the 2024 All-Star to a long-term deal to remain in L.A., he’s expected to see max offers should he test free agency this summer.

George has a $48.78 million player option for the 2024-25 NBA season, but can test free agency this June. The Knicks could be in the mix to land the Fresno State product, though they are roughly $4 million over the projected $141 million salary cap for next season.

The 34-year-old had a strong regular season where he averaged 22.6 points 5.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game, shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from the three-point line. Though his scoring slightly decreased, George is the quintessence of an elite do-it-all two-way wing that would give Brunson a fringe-MVP talent to wage a Finals run with next year.

Durant’s lack of playoff success in the last five years could open him up for a Knicks trade

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets
Mar 5, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (35) shoots the ball in the second half against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

In addition to George, Durant has also been named as a superstar who could force his way out of Phoenix. The Suns were swept by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs, marking a disappointing end to the season for their potent big three also including Devin Booker and Bradley Beal.

Durant has yet to win a championship since departing the dynastic Golden State Warriors in the summer of 2019. He’s dealt with injuries and has not reached any further than the Conference Semifinals in any of the last four postseasons he’s played in.

Jonathan Adams of Heavy Sports relayed that Durant could push his way out of Phoenix to finally find a situation where he can capture his third championship. He is under contract until 2025-26, where he’ll make $51.17 million and $54.7 million in the next two seasons.

In order to make the dollars and cents work, the Knicks have several players including Bojan Bogdanovic ($19.5 million) and OG Anunoby ($19.2 million) with large average contracts over the next few seasons along with Mitchell Robinson, Josh Hart, and Donte DiVincenzo to offer.

A wealthy collection of draft picks added to a potential package could entice the Suns to trade Durant to the Big Apple. Adams noted a trade package centered around Robinson, and Hart or DiVincenzo, along with Anunoby as the main draw, as their best calling card.

Contract talks between George and the Clippers are an encouraging sign for New York. Durant’s mobility in recent years gives the Knicks a good shot to push the chips they have to the front of the table to try and upgrade their roster. How far they advance in the 2024 playoffs could magnify their sense of urgency to land a star.

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