Trade Rumor: Knicks offer for Chris Paul include Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina

New York Knicks, chris paul
Aug 31, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul (3) is defended by Houston Rockets forward Danuel House Jr. (4) during the third quarter in game six of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are reportedly preparing a trade package centered on two of their young players plus assets in their bid to land Oklahoma City Thunder’s All-Star point guard Chris Paul.

Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson of reported that the Knicks have initially lined up Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikina, the 2021 first-round pick from Dallas Mavericks, the 2021 second-round pick from Charlotte Hornets plus Elfrid Payton and Bobby Portis as salary fillers.

While this is an underwhelming package compared to what Oklahoma City has received in the Paul George trade, the expiring deals of both Payton and Portis will give the Thunder the cap relief they are seeking.  On top of that, they will also have two former lottery picks to add to their young core and extra Draft capital.

The Knicks’ front office, led by Paul’s former agent Leon Rose, view the 10-time All-Star as a culture-builder, according to SNY’s Ian Begley.

Even at 35, Paul managed to show he’s still one of the top point guards in the league after leading the young Thunder core to 44 wins and went one play away from advancing to the second round of the playoffs.

Paul’s remaining $85-million salary and injury history comes with a risk. But it is a gamble the Knicks are reportedly willing to take to fast-track their rebuild.

If Paul moves to New York, he is expected to mentor Dennis Smith, Jr. the same way he did to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in Oklahoma.

The Knicks, however, will face stiff competition for Paul’s services from several playoff contenders. The list include the Milwaukee Bucks, who are facing mounting pressure to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo following another dismal playoff exit.  The ownership promised Antetokounmpo that they are willing to go over the luxury tax to surround him with a championship-caliber cast.  The reigning MVP has Paul in his wishlist.

And it seems the feeling is mutual.

It is an open secret around the league that Paul’s stay in Oklahoma City will be short-lived when he was traded from the Houston Rockets. And as early as last year, the veteran guard has been linked to the Bucks.

“I had heard he wanted to go to Milwaukee,” The Ringer’s Ryen Russillo said on Adrian Wojnarowski’s The Woj Pod. “Of course you’d want to go play with Giannis.”

In a video posted following their Bubble exit, Paul said Thunder GM Sam Presti was straightforward since Day One and that he doesn’t know what the future holds. It’s an ominous sign that he may have played his last game as a Thunder.

Presti has a history of working out favorable trade destinations for their stars in Oklahoma with George going to the Los Angeles Clippers and Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets. It remains to be seen if Paul would request the same, but it is the most logical thing to do at this stage of his career.