Knicks lose out on Chris Paul, but one free agent could fit the bill perfectly

New York Knicks, Fred Van Fleet

Several blockbuster moves were made right off the bat, with trading opening up across the NBA on Monday afternoon. Star point guard Chris Paul was traded to the Phoenix Suns, leaving Russell Westbrook as the next big thing on the market. Paul, who is making over $40 million per season, was also linked to the Knicks, who were reportedly open to consuming a contract of his size.

Missing out on Paul is not necessarily a bad thing, as the Knicks should look to pay less and acquire more talent than aging veterans. The reality is, New York is not ready to win now, and making a big splash move like acquiring Chris Paul would only hurt their cap space and further put their schematics in question.

However, there are still rumors that state the Knicks are interested in Westbrook, despite reports indicating that the market is relatively barren for the All-Star point guard.

As an offensive focal point, teams have to plan around Westbrook as he demands the ball. He averaged 27.2 points per game this past season and has reached the All-Star game nine times out of the last 10 years. He still at the top of his game and would make any team better, but his desire to have the ball in his hands at all times can be a negative factor.

The next might want to go with a younger option with room to grow, which is where Fred VanVleet enters the picture.

What would the New York Knicks be getting in VanVleet?

The Toronto Raptor is headed into free agency at 25 years old — he will be 26 next year and is just reaching the pinnacle of his abilities. In 2019-20, he averaged 17.6 points per game, 6.6 assists, and 3.4 rebounds. It was his best season to date, and the development he showed must spark the interest of the Knicks, who could use a full-time point guard with stellar defensive abilities.

Vanvleet is the cream of the crop when it comes to unrestricted free agents, and considering he’s coming off another improved season, there should be plenty of interest around him.

The Knicks might have to cough up $20 million per season to land him in free agency, but it would be far less than $40 million they would cough up for Chris Paul every year. Free is younger and offers stellar defense with developing offense, which are two factors the Knicks are looking for.