Knicks reportedly stockpiling draft picks for next superstar

Dylan Backer
Tom Thibodeau, Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks
Apr 10, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley (5) talks with head coach Tom Thibodeau during the second half against the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have a surplus of draft picks over the next few seasons, having nine total first-round picks in the next five drafts, and the team is reportedly eyeing to use those picks as tradeable assets for a megastar acquisition.

The Knicks pulled off the unexpected on the night of the 2022 NBA Draft, as they traded away their lottery pick, acquired three future first-round picks, and opened up $18 million in cap space, setting themselves up for future transactions within the organization.

“When I speak to executives around the league, they are viewing and believing that the Knicks are kind of hoarding those first round picks just waiting for that next megastar to become available.”

NBA Insider Shams Charania via FanDuel TV

That supposed megastar seemed to fall in the Knicks’ lap in the offseason when the Donovan Mitchell rumors spiraled. That was until the Cleveland Cavaliers swooped in and stunned the league by taking the star guard away from New York and the rest of the league, putting the Knicks back at square one in the trade market.

Knicks president, Leon Rose, put out a statement following the night of the draft explaining the array of moves made on draft night. His main point of emphasis was that the trades involving all those draft picks was to increase financial stability.

“We have the ability to be active in free agency, as well as the trade market. Our focus will remain to be strategic and thoughtful in our team building, doing it the right way, while feeding off of the momentum from the end of last season prioritizing our player development program.”

Leon Rose on adding draft capital via New York Knicks

Knicks fans have been craving for a superstar player to come to New York since Carmelo Anthony’s departure in 2017. Kristaps Porzingis looked to be their next superstar until he was traded in 2019, and Julius Randle and RJ Barrett have the potential to meet that criteria, but they are not quite there yet.

Therefore, Knicks fans will not be pleased with this regime’s tactics until New York proves that they can land a high-end superstar player. With Mitchell now out of the Knicks’ rear-view mirror, they will now have to pivot towards other marquee names.

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What superstar players are available for the Knicks?

A big potential target for the Knicks is Oklahoma City Thunder guard, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The 24-year-old former Kentucky product is having an early All-Star campaign so far this season, averaging a league’s 5th-best 31.6 PPG while shooting a career-best 53.7% from the field and a league-best 94.8% from the free throw line. He was the NBA’s Western Conference Player of The Week for the week of October 24-30.

His crafty ball-handling skills and smooth finishing at the rim could give New York some much-needed scoring depth. He could also create a formidable offensive backcourt with Jalen Brunson.

Gilgeous-Alexander signed a 5-year, $179 million contract extension with the Thunder this past offseason. Oklahoma City is currently 4-7 on the season, and given the inexperience on their roster, they may look to move Gilgeous-Alexander to get off of the lucrative contract. The price is also expected to be large, given the amount of value the young guard currently has.

Another player that could be on the Knicks’ radar is Los Angeles Lakers’ big man Anthony Davis. The superstar big is averaging 23/10/2 while shooting 54% from the field on a Lakers that is trudging through a rough 2-9 start.

Bill Simmons recently stated that Davis could be on his way out of Los Angeles, given the team’s prolific struggles this season. It may be in the Lakers’ best interest to part ways with the guy that got the franchise their first championship in a decade in 2020, as there is a strong chance that they could look to offload some of their large contracts to free up cap room and start a proper rebuild.

With the Knicks lacking a household superstar name, Davis could be a good target at the right price.

Davis, under contract until 2025, is slated to make upwards of $37 million this season and given his high value as a player on both ends of the floor, the price will certainly be hefty.

I wrote more about what Davis could bring to the Knicks here.

Overall outlook

Knicks fans, as well as rival league executives, are patiently waiting to see what New York’s front office plans to do with its deep selection of draft picks. Surely they will not draft players with all of those picks, so it is more a matter of when they will make the big splash move rather than if.

Only Leon Rose and the Knicks front office know what the future entails. That future could potentially be revealed very soon.

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