Knicks dodge what would’ve been a disaster trade

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

Before securing key players Mikal Bridges from the Brooklyn Nets and extending OG Anunoby, the New York Knicks were actively exploring the market, linked to numerous free agents and trade candidates, including Minnesota Timberwolves’ star Karl-Anthony Towns (KAT).

Evaluating the Cost and Impact of Karl Anthony-Towns vs. Julius Randle

As the Knicks aimed to bolster their wing support, the acquisition of Bridges and Anunoby became essential. Meanwhile, the decision to let Isaiah Hartenstein sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder was also part of the strategic reshuffling. However, the potential addition of Karl-Anthony Towns prompted comparisons with current Knicks forward Julius Randle, given their similar roles and contributions on the court.

Knicks, Mikal Bridges
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Towns, known for his physicality and proficiency in three-point shooting, averaged 21.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, and three assists over 62 games last season, shooting 50.4% from the field. In contrast, Randle posted 24 points per game, with higher rebounds (9.2) and assists (5), albeit with a slightly lower field goal percentage of 47.2%. The significant financial difference, with KAT set to earn about $20 million more than Randle next season, makes a strong case against pursuing Anthony-Towns, especially considering the Knicks’ existing commitments.

Financial Implications and Strategic Fit

The financial disparity between Randle and Anthony Towns is striking, with Randle’s cap hit for the 2024–25 season being $29 million, compared to the much higher salary commanded by KAT. This economic factor, coupled with coach Tom Thibodeau’s familiarity with Anthony Towns from their time in Minnesota, still does not justify the high cost of acquiring KAT, given the marginal difference in their on-court impact.

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

Strengthening Team Health and Depth

The Knicks’ addition of Bridges, a former Defensive Player of the Year candidate known for his durability (playing over 80 games in three consecutive seasons and never less than 72 games in any season), emphasizes the team’s priority on health. This strategy is particularly crucial for a team that has suffered from injuries in the past, notably during the playoffs.

Future Steps: Enhancing the Knicks’ Roster

Currently, the Knicks boast one of the strongest starting fives in the NBA. The next step in their team development involves enhancing their bench depth, particularly by acquiring a reliable center to complement and provide backup for Mitchell Robinson, whose health remains a concern. This approach will ensure that the Knicks are better equipped to maintain their competitiveness throughout the season and into the playoffs.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: