Knicks could target ‘strong upgrade’ in trade for Timberwolves star

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at New York Knicks
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are at a crossroads this offseason, facing the decision to maintain their current roster or make significant changes in pursuit of a championship in the 2024-25 season.

Knicks’ Offseason Strategy: Staying the Course or Making a Big Move?

With Julius Randle recovering from shoulder surgery and the potential extension of OG Anunoby, the Knicks could very well be poised for a deep playoff run with minimal adjustments. However, the allure of adding significant talent remains tempting, especially with Karl-Anthony Towns (KAT) reportedly available due to financial constraints faced by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at New York Knicks
Jan 1, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby (8) looks to drive past Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) in the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Exploring Trade Options and Team Dynamics

According to Bobby Marks of ESPN, the Timberwolves are looking to avoid a hefty luxury tax bill next season ($75M), potentially necessitating the trade of high-earning players like Towns.

Ian Begley of SNY has outlined possible trade packages that might interest the Timberwolves, including one that involves Julius Randle, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jericho Simms, and multiple first-round picks. Another potential deal post-July 1, aligning with Towns’ $36 million salary, could also see Randle and Bogdanovic heading to Minnesota alongside several first-round selections.

The question remains: Is moving Randle, a consistent performer for the Knicks, in exchange for Towns, who offers superior long-range shooting and comparable overall production, a wise decision?

Randle has been a key figure for the Knicks, averaging 24 points and 9.2 rebounds last season and making the All-Star team. Conversely, Towns has experienced some injury setbacks, which adds a layer of risk to acquiring him despite his offensive efficiency and defensive capabilities.

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
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 SportsCredit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Towns’ potential addition could undoubtedly elevate the Knicks’ offensive game, but his health and the high cost of his contract are significant considerations. Meanwhile, the Knicks have yet to see the full potential of their lineup, with both Anunoby and Randle healthy, suggesting that their current roster may already have considerable untapped potential.

In terms of roster depth and long-term financial flexibility, the Knicks might benefit more from retaining their draft picks, extending players like Isaiah Hartenstein, and integrating cost-controlled, young talent instead of pursuing expensive trade deals. This approach would allow them to build a robust team capable of sustained competitiveness without compromising their financial health or depth.

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