Knicks land All-Star wing in blockbuster mock trade

Apr 14, 2024; New York, New York, USA;  Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (11) looks to drive past New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby (8) in the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

DeMar DeRozan has had his name in and out of trade rumors for the last couple of seasons, and this summer, the New York Knicks could put them to rest.

Eddie Presti of Brew Crew Sports stepped into the role of general manager and brewed up a deal that sends DeRozan to the Knicks in exchange for a package centered around Mitchell Robinson and Bojan Bogdanovic, as he shared on X on Sunday:

At first glance, the trade may seem like a steal. The Knicks get one of the best scorers in basketball while moving off of the injury-prone Robinson and Bogdanovic’s expiring contract.

Knicks: DeMar DeRozan showed he’s still an All-Star level player in 2023-24

Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (11) looks to pass the ball against the Detroit Pistons during the first half at United Center (Knicks, NYK, New York Knicks)
Apr 9, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (11) looks to pass the ball against the Detroit Pistons during the first half at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The California native put up 24 points per game next to 5.3 assists on 48 percent shooting from the floor and a much improved 33.3 percent clip from three-point range, his second-highest clip in the last eight years. DeRozan’s crowning achievement of the 2023-24 regular season campaign was leading the league in clutch scoring, having averaged 4.6 points per night in crunch time. The Bulls also went 24-16 in the 40 games that went down to the wire with DeRozan on the floor doing his thing.

DeRozan’s ball-dominant style of play could clash with Knicks stars

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) and guard Jalen Brunson (11) react to a play against the Utah Jazz during the third quarter at Delta Center
Dec 13, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) and guard Jalen Brunson (11) react to a play against the Utah Jazz during the third quarter at Delta Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

The 34-year-old would give a boost to a Knicks team that finished with a 51.5 percent winning percentage in games decided in the clutch. The downside to adding DeRozan to the fold is his ball dominance, subpar outside shooting, and unique pace of play. The six-time All-Star requires the ball in his hands to be effective, predominantly in the midrange, which could add much redundancy next to Jalen Brunson, who thrives in the same situations.

The Knicks need star power. DeRozan is an upper-echelon player in the Association. Albeit, a potential marriage between the two parties could backfire due to styles of play and the direction that the Knicks are trending in. That’s not even taking into account Julius Randle, who would be a third 25-PPG caliber scorer that would need touches next to DeRozan and Brunson.

Knicks could capitalize off of a DeRozan trade should they deal Julius Randle this summer

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center
Jan 23, 2024; Brooklyn, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

What the Knicks cough up in the proposed deal is worth relinquishing in and of itself, though. Bogdanovic, 35, was hooping with the Detroit Pistons but struggled to be his best self once traded to the Knicks at the Feb. 8 trade deadline. He also isn’t getting any younger behind OG Anunoby and Josh Hart. Robinson led the NBA with 4.6 offensive rebounds per game in 2023-24 but needs to show that he can stay on the floor to be a secure option for the Knicks’ future.

Given that DeRozan made $28.6 million on the final year of his deal last season and is approaching his age-35 season, he could be a strategic sign-and-trade option, but the fit would take precedence in deciding if he’s the star that takes the Knicks to championship heights in 2024-25.

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