Another offseason day, another point guard has been linked to the New York Knicks.
According to The Athletic report on Tuesday, the Knicks have emerged as the most aggressive trade suitor for Cleveland Cavaliers scoring guard Collin Sexton.
SB Nation’s Fear of the Sword Editor Evan Dammarell poured more fuel to the fire when he floated that a package of Obi Toppin, Kevin Knox, and one of the Knicks’ 2021 first rounders appears to be an option.
A package that would include Obi Toppin, Kevin Knox, and one of New York’s 2021 first rounders appears to be an option for Collin Sexton after reaching out to a source. https://t.co/n4czhlMTGg
— Evan Dammarell (@AmNotEvan) July 13, 2021
If the reports are true, Brock Aller’s imprint should be all over it.
After all, Aller, the Knicks VP for Basketball and Strategic Planning, started his career in Cleveland. He served as Dan Gilbert’s personal assistant before transitioning to a front office role, where he raised his profile as one of the finest capologists around the league.
Aller was part of the Cavaliers’ front office that drafted Sexton in 2018 using the eighth pick, the key piece in the Kyrie Irving trade with the Boston Celtics.
On top of landing Sexton, the Knicks would also open up an additional $4.6 million in cap space.
Knicks will also open up additional $4.6M in cap space based on the reported package. https://t.co/rqxuVgiccu pic.twitter.com/A4Zl5ivlub
— alder almo (@alderalmo) July 13, 2021
Sexton has blossomed into one of the better scoring guards in the league, increasing his scoring, assists, and efficiency throughout his first three years with the Cavaliers. But there was a red flag raised by another The Athletic report on May that painted him a “ball hog.”
“Various Cavs players still grow frustrated by the way Sexton dominates the ball, and opponents taunt them by saying during games, â€˜You know heâ€™s not going to pass you the ball,” Cavaliers’ insider Joe Vardon wrote.
The plus/minus numbers are staggering…
Sexton posted the worst +/- rating (-672) in the NBA in 2018-19.
Sexton posted the worst +/- rating (-397) in the NBA in 2019-20.
Sexton "improved" to only the sixth-worst +/- in the NBA (-377) in 2020-21.
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) July 13, 2021
It may also be one of the reasons why the Cavaliers are reluctant to keep him with his rookie extension on the horizon. But Aller’s valuable direct intel on Sexton could be the key in the Knicks pushing for a deal.
But to Collins’ defense, he played with a bad Cavaliers’ roster devoid of an elite offensive threat.
If the reported package is true, it’s going to be a low-risk, high-reward move for the Knicks akin to the Derrick Rose mid-season trade.
The bet is for Sexton’s ball-dominant style of play to impact winning and create space for Julius Randle. Sexton’s 28.6 usage rate this season ranked 17th among guards in the league, per NBA.com. Meanwhile, Randle’s 28.5 usage rate this season ranked 15th among forwards, per NBA.com.
There’s no question Sexton’s shotmaking and toughness, despite being undersized, will be a huge upgrade over Elfrid Payton. But the question is can he thrive more as a facilitator next to Randle?
Sexton will be aiming to raise his stock to get the rookie max extension he wants, which is roughly $168 million over five years.
At the very least, he can shot up his value next season while running the Knicks offense, hopefully back to the playoffs. Sexton’s value would still be relatively higher than Knox, Toppin, and the 19th or 21st pick combined. Then the Knicks will have to decide whether to keep him long-term or flip him in a sign-and-trade deal. Sexton’s value would still be relatively higher than Knox, Toppin, and the 19th or 21st pick combined in any deal next summer. At best, he becomes the Knicksâ€™ best point guard in a long while.
Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo