Knicks mock trade proposal for Zion Williamson

New York Knicks, Zion Williamson
Dec 30, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) against the Philadelphia 76ers during the first half at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The transfer of Bradley Beal to the Phoenix Suns has left the spotlight on the next potential big move in the NBA – Zion Williamson. The New York Knicks have emerged as one of the interested parties, hoping to add the star power forward to their roster.

The Proposed Trade Scenario for Williamson

SNY’s Ian Begley proposed two trade avenues the Knicks could take to bring the star power forward to New York.

“If the package to New Orleans includes Evan Fournier, New York would need to send out an additional $8 million in the deal. A package including Fournier, Toppin and multiple first-round picks would work. This would allow the Pelicans to shed salary in 2023-24 and in 2024-25, when Fournier’s contract expires. If the Pelicans want Randle, the Knicks sending out $37 million in a package including Randle, Jericho Sims and multiple first-round picks would work,” Begley wrote.

According to NBA trade rules, the Knicks would need to export $26.6 million for a Williamson trade, given his impending $33.5 million salary for the next season.

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Williamson’s Track Record and Injuries: An Unresolved Concern

The challenge with acquiring Williamson is his health record. Since his draft in 2019, he has missed 64% of games due to injuries, as per ESPN. This past season, he only played 29 games, averaging 26/7/4 for the Pelicans before a hamstring injury cut his season short on Jan. 2.

Fournier and Toppin, on the other hand, are prominent trade prospects for the Knicks this offseason. Fournier, who dropped out of rotation early last season, has expressed doubts over his return, while Toppin has struggled to secure regular playtime behind Randle since his 2020 draft.

Possible Future Impact and Financial Implications

In addition to these players, New York also has a wealth of draft picks, which they could leverage in potential trades to propel them to title contention. Despite Williamson’s substantial contract, the Knicks could still afford to bring in more young talents this offseason if they acquire him.

However, Begley also points out that the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, effective from the 2024-25 season, could limit the Knicks financially if they have multiple high-salary players.

Acquiring Williamson, with his significant contract and injury history, is a risky move, regardless of the assets the Knicks send the other way. But, it might just be a gamble worth taking if it significantly improves the Knicks’ competitiveness.

As the offseason progresses, the question remains whether the Knicks will take a bold approach by offering a significant package for one of the NBA’s best young talents or opt for a more conservative strategy. Only time will unveil their decision.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @DylanBacker_