Knicks are ‘looking into trade scenarios’ to maximize contention window

New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau with guard Jalen Brunson (11) against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks possess two first-round picks in the 2024 NBA Draft, holding the 24th and 25th overall selections. However, they are considering leveraging these assets to acquire a star player already in their prime, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

The Knicks are reportedly exploring trade scenarios as they aim to capitalize on a narrowing contention window, particularly with uncertainties surrounding Jalen Brunson’s future contract. Brunson is expected to remain with the Knicks, whether through opting out next year or signing an extension this off-season, potentially worth $100 million less after 2025.

The Knicks are well-positioned to utilize their draft capital if they can find a trading partner willing to part with a star. This strategy would likely necessitate offloading substantial contracts, specifically those of Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson.

Mar 29, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) controls the ball against Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Salary Constraints and the Knicks’ Targets

Next year, the Knicks are set to pay Julius Randle $30.3 million, Mitchell Robinson $14.3 million, and Bojan Bogdanovic $19 million. The need to offload this salary is critical, including potentially shedding the $5 million from Shake Milton. Robinson’s injury concerns and the financial implications of his contract make him a prime candidate for inclusion in a trade package. This would free up significant financial resources, potentially allowing the Knicks to secure a star to pair with Brunson.

Speculation about the Knicks’ ability to sign LeBron James if he opts out of his contract with the Lakers persists, although fitting his substantial salary under the cap would require the Knicks to move several large contracts for the 2024–25 season.

Other potential acquisition targets include Lauri Markkanen from the Utah Jazz, though his defensive capabilities might not mesh well with the Knicks’ needs. Alternatives could include high-profile players like Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, or even DeMar DeRozan, who may still offer valuable contributions.

Ultimately, team chemistry is a critical factor for the Knicks. Acquiring a star for the sake of it isn’t a viable strategy. The Knicks must be judicious about their trade decisions, ensuring that any major moves, including potentially offloading Randle and multiple first-round picks, are made with the right player who can truly enhance the team’s championship aspirations.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: