The New York Knicks are facing significant questions this off-season regarding the potential acquisition of a third star to align with Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson.
The Potential of a Stable Roster
Having acquired Donte DiVincenzo in free agency and trading away Obi Toppin, the Knicks are likely to commence the 2023–24 season with an unchanged lineup. The Knicks could consider boosting their championship prospects by acquiring a new player at the deadline.
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Star Options and Sacrifices
Currently, several star players are looking to make a move. However, acquiring one would require the Knicks to part ways with one of their emerging talents, such as RJ Barrett, to free up enough salary space for a potential deal. Names like Paul George and Joel Embiid have been linked to the Knicks, with Embiid as a potential target if he forces his exit from the 76ers.
Lillard and Harden: Not on Knicks’ List
“James Harden and Damian Lillard are both available via trade,” Begley wrote. “But as of late Saturday night, I don’t believe New York has been aggressively pursuing either player.”
It seems Lillard is focusing on the Miami Heat, while Harden may try to force a move to a team of his choice. Knicks’ President Leon Rose is reportedly seeking a specific fit rather than randomly adding another star.
Lillard vs Harden: A Statistic Breakdown
Lillard, an elite point guard, averaged a career-high 32.2 points last season, with a .463 field goal percentage and .371 from beyond the arc. His four-year, $176.2 million contract includes two more years before he becomes a free agent at age 35.
Contrastingly, Harden averaged 21 points per game last season, his lowest since 2011. At 33, he registered his second-highest career assist total at 10.7 per game, shooting .441 from the field and .385 from downtown.
Although Harden is a top scorer and facilitator, the Knicks’ roster already includes Jalen Brunson, making the addition of another point guard potentially redundant. However, Harden’s experience as a shooting guard could alleviate pressure from Randle and Brunson, potentially enhancing the Knicks’ chances of contention.
No Rush for the Knicks
There’s no urgency for the Knicks to leap into a deal and part ways with significant assets to seize a championship window. They have time to contemplate, and they could always opt for a trade at the upcoming season’s deadline, leveraging their quality assets.
“As things currently stand, the Knicks seem likely to enter next season with the 2022-23 roster mostly intact,” Begley noted.