Knicks are on the ‘hunt for another glitzy star’

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 faced significant challenges during the postseason, largely due to injuries to key players like Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, and OG Anunoby. Despite these setbacks, the potential core of Jalen Brunson, Randle, and Anunoby shows promise. This offseason, retaining Anunoby and extending his contract is a top priority, given his defensive prowess and underrated scoring ability.

Knicks’ Offseason Strategy: Building a Contender

While the Knicks recognize Anunoby’s potential as a cornerstone player, the front office is also under pressure to bring more star power to Madison Square Garden. According to Howard Beck of The Ringer, owner James Dolan is eager for stardom, pushing the team to pursue big names. However, as seen with teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, adding star players doesn’t always translate to success if it disrupts team chemistry.

Jan 15, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby (8) celebrates with forward Julius Randle (30) after a basket against the Orlando Magic during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics’ recent championship, built through homegrown talent and careful development rather than blockbuster trades, offers a model of success that the Knicks might consider emulating. President Leon Rose needs to weigh the benefits of star acquisitions against the potential costs to team harmony and long-term financial flexibility.

“One thing has not changed, however: The Knicks now, as ever, are in a perpetual hunt for another glitzy star—and Dolan, as ever, expects one,” Beck detailed. “Behind the Scenes of the NBA’s Most Unlikely Revival.” “’That is factual,’ said a source with ties to the Garden. The Rose-Wesley team ‘promised him stars,’ the source said. ‘He didn’t hire them for their (experience) running a basketball team.’”

Rumors have linked the Knicks to Karl-Anthony Towns, who may be on the trading block due to the Minnesota Timberwolves’ salary cap constraints. Towns is an attractive target but comes with a hefty price tag; his contract will escalate to $61.2 million by 2027. Integrating such a significant salary would require substantial adjustments to the Knicks’ payroll, potentially forcing them to trade away multiple players.

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) drives to the basket against New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Moreover, Towns’ recent underwhelming postseason performance and history of injuries add risk to any deal. Given these factors, the Knicks must carefully consider whether pursuing Towns—or any high-priced star—aligns with their strategic objectives.

knicks, karl-anthony towns

Instead of chasing big names at high costs, the Knicks could opt to focus on internal development and chemistry. Retaining both Anunoby and Isaiah Hartenstein could provide stability and continuity, allowing the team to build on the existing foundation rather than overhaul it. Last season’s playoff run, though marred by injuries, proved the Knicks have a competitive roster. Ensuring key players are healthy could be all that’s needed to make a deeper postseason impact.

While the allure of adding another superstar is strong, the Knicks might find greater success by fostering the growth of their current lineup and cautiously approaching any major roster changes.

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