Thereâ€™s no question the New York Knicks are going to need to splash the cash if they want to land a long-term solution at point guard, and while there are a bevy of options available on the free-agent market, the targeted players they seek must also want the bright lights of New York.
At the trade deadline this past season, the Knicks were heavily connected to New Orleans Pelicans PG Lonzo Ball, who will be a restricted free agent this off-season. Either the Pelicans can match his offer sheet that starts at $19 million, or they can let him test the market and match any offers made my alternative clubs.
Ball is not only a young point guard that took a positive step forward this past season, but he also has chemistry with Julius Randle, as they spent two seasons together in Los Angeles between 2017-19.
However, Ball is an entirely different player at this point in his career, similar to Randle. Randle is coming off a career season with the Knicks, averaging 24.1 points, 6.0 assists, and shot .456 from the field. Both players took extravagant leaps in their three-point percentages, with Julius increasing his number from .277 in 2019 to .411 in 2020. Ball went from .329 in 2018 to .378 in 2020 over 8.3 attempts, indicating a lofty increase.
In addition to the statistical improvements, LaVar Ball has always wanted his sons to end up at MSG on the biggest stage in basketball.
Marc Berman of the NY Post reported that LaVar Ball’s desire is for his sons to end up ‘on Broadway”:
The fatherâ€™s eccentricities are not an issue. Sources believe Lavar, a former tight end on the Jetsâ€™ practice squad,Â wants all his sons on Broadway, and the Knicks are on Lonzoâ€™s radar.
Landing Ball on a multi-year deal would enable the Knicks to spend the rest of their funds on high-end complementary pieces. Of course, signing a bonafide star like Chris Paul or trading for Damian Lillard might be ideal for some parties, but Lonzo is just hitting his stride and will likely continue to develop, especially with a great Knicks coaching staff.
Kyle Lowry also reportedly “wanted to be a Knick,” according to Berman:
As stated above, the Knicks will have several options to choose from on the open market, and Lowry remains one of them. Coming off a one-year, $30.5 million deal, Lowry only started 46 games this past season at 34 years old. However, heâ€™s earned six All-Star appearances over the past seven seasons, averaging 17.2 points and 7.3 assists during his playing time this year. He also connected on nearly 40% off his three-point attempts, averaging 7.2 shots from beyond the arc per game — a category the Knicks ‘NEED’ to improve in.
Thereâ€™s no question that Lowry would offer a significant upgrade at PG for the Knicks, but overpaying for an oft-injured, declining PG might not be the best allocation of resources. Staying young while also adding superior potential is what the Knicks should be focusing on. A dual threat of Lonzo and Derrick Rose would be a solid pairing, as Rose can operate the offense at a high level and Ball can also swing out to shooting guard if need be as they rotate and keep Rose healthy and fatigue-free (Rose simply canâ€™t manage a full seasons workload at this point). This theoretical move would also allow Ball to develop even further behind one of the best PGs of the past generation, taking over in the long term. This idea might only work if Rose was on a one-year deal, and he might be looking to cash in one last time late in his career.
What do you think of a Lonzo Ball, Derrick Rose pairing at PG? Should the Knicks spend that much on to starting options, if they were willing to operate under that mold? Comment below!