Knicks reportedly looked into trading for Pelicans superstar this summer

New York Knicks, Zion Williamson
Dec 30, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) against the Philadelphia 76ers during the first half at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks brought life back to Madison Square Garden last year behind stellar play from Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson, but management has been active in trying to land a superstar to help the NBA’s biggest market capture a championship.

Former Knicks reporter Marc Berman touched on how general manager Leon Rose has pressure to bring in a superstar to keep his job, and revealed that he looked at a move for New Orleans Pelicans All-Star Zion Williamson over the summer:

Knicks Fans Were Desperate for Zion Ahead of the 2019 NBA Draft

The city of New York was in a frenzy in 2019 when every fanbase across the country crossed their fingers in hopes that their team would win the draft lottery and select Williamson first overall out of Duke University.

The Pelicans lucked out in the Williamson sweepstakes and the Knicks wound up selecting his Duke teammate RJ Barrett with the third pick that year.

Williamson has been a domineering presence inside. He led all players with 19.1 points in the paint in 2022-23 and has used his ability to bully defenders inside to create 4.6 assists per game for his teammates. However, his injury history is a cause for concern, and his fluctuating weight has been looked at as a guilty party in keeping him off the floor.

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Do the Knicks Need to Trade for Another Star to Win a Championship This Season?

Elsewhere, the Knicks have been tied to several other marquee players this offseason. Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star Donovan Mitchell was rumored to be a player of interest for New York. A deal has yet to materialize despite Mitchell holding off on committing to the Cavaliers on a long-term contract extension.

After Jrue Holiday was traded from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Portland Trail Blazers, there was a brief moment where New York was tied to making a play for the All-Star point guard. The Boston Celtics wound up striking first.

Now the Knicks are among the frontrunners to acquire Philadelphia 76ers MVP Joel Embiid with speculation that the Cameroonian center may request a trade at some point during the regular season or next summer, but opportunities have slipped out of New York’s hands time and again as their top competition in the Eastern Conference have all added star talent.

Presently constructed, New York fields a roster that projects to be equally as competitive this year if not better. Landing a superstar in the trade market likely means saying goodbye to a combination of Randle, Brunson, or Barrett as well as draft capital.