With draft capital and youth to spare, the Knicks could look to execute a blockbuster trade this off-season, but there are a few players on the roster that should be deemed â€œuntouchable.â€
While adding superstar talent is always a benefit, tearing up the foundation of a roster can sometimes lead to failure, and as weâ€™ve seen in the past it can also be malpractice. Building around the quality the Knicks already have should be a priority, and with $50+ million in free agency and an attractive destination for players, New York doesnâ€™t have to execute a massive deal to improve the team.
Three untouchable players for the Knicks:
If not for Julius Randle, New York wouldnâ€™t even be considered a destination for big name free agents. Pairing him with an elite point guard should help the team tremendously, but if you remember the difficulty of luring quality to The Garden prior to Randleâ€™s big 2020 season, you also likely remember the struggles the team faced in the process.
If the Knicks commit to Randle and remain loyal, they will likely be rewarded with interest from other players. In addition, Randleâ€™s impact this past year was astronomical, averaging 24.1 points, 6.0 assists, 10.2 rebounds, and shot .411 from range, all career highs. He had one of the best seasons in NYK history, which means a thing or two. His presence alone is an attraction, making him in untouchable.
One of the Knicksâ€™ brightest young players is RJ Barrett, and trading him away at 21 years old would absolutely constitute as malpractice. He saw a significant development last year in multiple categories, including points, field-goal percentage, and three-point percentage. He elevated his three point shot to over 40%, and connected on .746 of his free throws, a 13% increase.
Barrett seems to have star potential, and trading that away for a player who will likely be on a contract for no more than four years would be mind boggling.
Another player the Knicks should take off their list of potential trade pieces is Immanuel Quickley, who displayed flashes of brilliance last year in his rookie season. At 22 years old, Quickley averaged 11.4 points and shot nearly 39% from downtown. He also hit on nearly 90% of his free throws, indicating potential elite scoring prowess as a shooter. Quickley worked on his floater all season long, taking essential tips from Derrick Rose. His growth could lead to serious point production for New York, and trading him away will disable them from ever realizing his true potential, which could be lavish.
Knicks hold internal talks on pursuing Chris Paul in free agency if opt-out:
Recent reports have indicated that the Knicks have had internal discussions surrounding the possibility of signing Chris Paul, according to Ian Bagley of SNY. Paul is expected to decline his $44.4 million player option, but the Phoenix Suns could offer him a multi year deal.
If he declines, the Knicks could enter the fold and compete for his services, but they would likely have to overpay to draw him to the East Coast. The Knicks have the money, and after Paulâ€™s recent display during the postseason, heâ€™s going to be worth every penny.