The New York Knicks‘ off-season strategy could focus on bolstering the dynamic duo of Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson with another superstar.
Jalen Brunson’s Rise to Stardom
Brunson’s approach to tier-1 status and his standout season for the Knicks strongly suggest that the club has entered a Championship window. However, the off-season will demand the right moves to enhance their title chances.
The Search for a Scoring Machine: Challenges Ahead
News about Chicago Bulls’ sharpshooter Zach LaVine’s reluctance towards New York has surfaced. But LaVine isn’t the only top scorer who might lean toward a different team if a trade is considered.
According to The Athletic, Portland Trailblazers’ guard Damian Lillard has shown substantial interest in joining the Miami Heat, the team that ousted the Knicks from the postseason with ease.
“Lillard indeed has serious interest in joining the Heat, who would surely love to pair him with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. If it reaches this point — and there’s still an ‘if’ here considering all the times Lillard chose not to ask out before — Lillard’s wishes would matter a great deal because of the enormity of his contract.”
Lillard, who exercised his player option for the 2024–25 season, has two more years left on his four-year, $176.2 million deal. He’s due to earn $45.6 million this coming year and $48.8 million in the following season, necessitating the Knicks to create substantial salary space.
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Lillard’s Allure: A Gamble Worth Taking?
For a player of Lillard’s caliber, the Knicks may consider making an exception. He averaged 32.2 points per game in the past season across 58 games and has been an All-Star five times in the last six years. With a .463% field goal percentage and a .371 three-point shooting percentage this past campaign, Lillard has proved his worth.
Acquiring a scorer like Lillard could provide the Knicks with one of the best offenses in the game, an invaluable asset in the postseason against formidable defenses.
However, despite Lillard’s frequent appearance in trade rumors and the Trailblazers’ seeming unpreparedness for a championship run, his move to another team for a ring is yet to be confirmed.
Balancing the Team Dynamic: A Tricky Equation
Adding another point guard might not be the Knicks’ ideal scenario, given Brunson’s role in the same position. Achieving the right balance between the two guards could be challenging.
President Leon Rose might opt for a different path with a more affordable contract and a younger talent that aligns better with their team strategy.
Knicks’ Financial Decisions and Potential New Signings
The Knicks must decide on Josh Hart’s extension and continue offloading salaries. Their recent decline of Derrick Rose’s player option, saving $15.6 million, and plans to trade Evan Fournier, potentially saving $18.8 million, could result in approximately $34 million available for spending this off-season.