Knicks nearly executed 3-team trade to offload $18.9 million salary

NBA: Playoffs-Denver Nuggets at Phoenix Suns, camerao payne, knicks
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are actively searching for ingenious methods to offload the hefty salary of Evan Fournier, who is due $18.9 million for the 2023–24 season. Creating room in the salary cap is vital for the Knicks to acquire another star. However, finding a willing trade partner has proven to be a challenge so far.

Near Miss with Cam Payne: A Three-Team Trade Prospect

As per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, the Knicks almost secured Cam Payne in a trade deal that would have offloaded Evan Fournier.

Scotto’s report revealed that “New York, Phoenix, and Indiana had exploratory discussions on a three-team trade where Cam Payne would’ve joined the Knicks, TJ McConnell would’ve joined the Suns, and Evan Fournier and draft pick compensation would’ve gone to the Pacers.” He added, “There were also variations of the talks, which involved Jordan Nwora.”

The Cost of Contract Clearance

To clear the final year of Fournier’s contract, New York may have to compromise some of their draft capital. Such a move seems inevitable in the near future.

The Cameron Payne Factor

In the prospective trade, Cameron Payne could have joined the Knicks, adding another shooting guard to their roster. Despite a history of injury, Payne, who can also function as a point guard, averaged 10.3 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 4.5 assists last season for the Phoenix Suns. He also had a shooting average of .415 from the field and .368 from downtown. The 28-year-old featured in 48 games, started 15 and averaged 20.2 minutes per game.

However, Payne’s inconsistent performance throughout his career, despite having been in the league with high expectations, poses a concern. He has only reached 60 games once in his career, a milestone achieved back in 2020.

The Search for A Big Man Continues for the Knicks

With the recent signing of Donte DiVincenzo, the Knicks seem to have no urgent requirement for Payne and his skills. Instead, the team is on the lookout for a strong big man to support Julius Randle at the power forward position. While the likelihood of future talks remains, the Knicks’ efforts to offload Fournier and free up salary space underscore their strategic maneuvering.