Prior to the New York Knicks reaching the postseason, reports at the trade deadline indicated a heavy interest in New Orleans Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball. In fact, rumors were flowing that the Knicks would make an offer to acquire the young guard, but instead, they rolled with Derrick Rose from the Detroit Pistons, sending Dennis Smith Jr. on his way.
While the Knicks didnâ€™t land Ball this past season, there was still heightened interest in acquiring him during free agency, but it seems as if management is split on his pursuit.
Per Ian Begley of SNY:
The Knicks spoke to New Orleans about a potential Ball trade prior to the deadline but nothing materialized. One source with knowledge of the dynamic at the deadline expected the Knicks to pursue Ball again in the offseason.
But as recently as late in the regular season, there was no consensus on Ball among Knicks decision-makers.
Ball is one of the more intriguing options on the open market, averaging 14.6 points, 5.7 assists, and shooting 41% from the field this past season. For a high-volume shooter, attempting 8.3 shots from range per game, he averaged nearly 38%, which is a solid clip. His free-throw percentage took a massive jump from 56 to 78% in his fourth year.
Heading into his fifth season in the NBA, Lonzo is preparing to turn 24 years old, a ripe age to become an established starter for a team like the Knicks. With plenty of available funds, there is a likelihood he will be one of their priority options this off-season, given his increase in production last year and Tom Thibodeauâ€™s ability to bring the best out in players.
While Ball would likely be expensive, commanding $20+ million per season, the Knicks also have a few other players on their mind, including Miami guard Duncan Robinson.
Duncan Robinson interest:
(Robinson will probably have plenty of suitors this summer. This isnâ€™t surprising, but Robinson has fans within the Knicks organization), per Begley.
Robinson is an interesting player, with the ability to play small forward and shooting guard, offering versatility with Alec Burks and Reggie Bullock prepared to hit free agency. At 27, the Maine native has three years of NBA experience, playing 72 games this past season as a small forward. He averaged 13.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and shot 44% from the field. In addition, he is a high-quality three-point shooter, connecting on 41% of his shots on 8.5 attempts per game.
Based on the obvious connections the Knicks have made this off-season, it is clear they want to improve their three-point shooting to complement Julius Randle and his court vision down in the paint. Kicking the ball out to the corners where players like RJ Barrett and Duncan Robinson can thrive is exactly what modern NBA teams are doing to spur success.