Amid a competitive playoff series against the Miami Heat, the New York Knicks find themselves surrounded by offseason rumors. Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals is scheduled for Tuesday night, and the Knicks aim to secure a victory at Madison Square Garden before heading to Miami for a two-game series.
However, management is eager to add more competitive elements for next season, and that’s where Karl-Anthony Towns enters the picture. Recent rumors suggest New York could be in contention. This is not the first time the two sides have been connected, but given Towns’ relatively underwhelming season, this could be an ideal opportunity for the Knicks to acquire the star big man.
According to Heavy’s Sean Deveney, the Knicks are among the several teams considering a pursuit of KAT in the forthcoming offseason.
Towns, a three-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA player encountered difficulties this past season, missing 51 games due to a calf strain. He participated in only 29 games as a power forward, averaging 20.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and shooting .366 from beyond the arc and .576 from the two-point range.
There is no doubt that the 27-year-old from Edison, New Jersey, would be an exceptional addition to the team, but the Knicks already have a full roster with Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson.
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In theory, he would take minutes from Mitchell Robinson and Randle unless the Knicks choose to part ways with one of them. Robinson is enjoying a remarkable postseason, while Randle is sidelined with an ankle sprain. However, it is rare to find a player like Towns who can shoot efficiently from the three-point line and average double-digit rebounds per game. Given his young age, his potential is limitless, and the Knicks may be willing to gamble on him succeeding.
“The interest in making that happen would be mutual, for sure,” an NBA source told Deveney. “KAT and the Knicks are intertwined. To some people, it’s more a matter of when they go after him, not if.”
Ultimately, New York is intently focused on winning Game 2 at home on Tuesday, but they are on the right track with a wealth of youth and skilled depth.
The Knicks would have to make the money work with Karl-Anthony Towns:
Karl-Anthony is nearing the end of a five-year, $158.2 million contract. He will earn $36 million at 28 years old next season before a four-year, $224.2 million extension begins. His estimated contract of $50 million per season will consume 34.58% of the league salary cap in 2024. This supermax extension implies the Knicks would need to offload one of their high-earning players, although head coach Tom Thibodeau might prefer to keep Brunson and Randle in their current positions. Some have suggested replacing Randle with a different star, considering Brunson as a long-term component.
The ideal scenario would involve parting ways with Evan Fournier, who has one more year at $18.8 million before the Knicks hold a club option for the 2024/25 season. If the team decides to acquire Karl-Anthony Towns, they may be able to trade Fournier, unloading his salary to accommodate their new acquisition.
In any case, Towns’ New Jersey roots and strong local ties are certainly positive factors to consider. He would likely welcome a trade to Madison Square Garden and a Knicks team that is currently on an upward trajectory.
“That is why the Knicks are always coming up,” Heavy reports. “He’s from Jersey and has a base there. Personnel-wise, it would be a good mix. Everyone knows the connections there, everyone knows there is an interest.”