Why the Knicks should make this blockbuster trade target their top priority

Paul George, Knicks
Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

An offseason trade, no matter what may be the catalyst between fighting for the play-in and appearing in the NBA Finals. Big stars are on the market this summer, but one may be a game-changer for the New York Knicks

The Knicks are a perfect fit for Paul George

Paul George, Knicks
Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA off-season gives free time for teams to reevaluate and reestablish their rotations for the upcoming season. Every year is speculation about a star player and his desire to join a new team. We’ve seen Kevin Durant join the Golden State Warriors and Jrue Holiday be traded from Portland to Boston, now the NBA Champion. The next star traded could be Los Angeles Clippers All-Star Paul George.

Reports have indicated that the New York Knicks are a team to watch regarding George. NBA Insider Marc Stein reported that the Knicks could be “suitors” for George if he requests a trade:

“Another trusted source has advised me to keep the Knicks on the list as a potential trade suitor for George if the All-NBA swingman indeed opts into the final season of his current contract at $48.8 million.” 

The contract situation indicates that for this trade to be, it would possibly mark the end of OG Anunoby or Julius Randle’s tenure with the Knicks. George offers New York another level of offensive versatility and adds to the already tremendous depth.

Averaging 22.6 PPG in 74 games, George is now 34 years old, and looking to win now on the big stage. Post All-Star break, George had a true shooting of 65% while shooting 45% from three on 7.4 3PA per game. New York gives him arguably the best opportunity to win, and the two-way track record of George, with the right motivation, would be a valuable asset to the Knicks. 

Drawbacks of a potential George deal

NBA: Orlando Magic at Los Angeles Clippers, knicks, paul george

The pros of George make him a spectacle, and adding him to the Knicks makes them nearly title favorites on paper, but there has been a lack of consistency from the All-Star forward through the years. Most recently, George’s regular season average of 22 PPG dropped to 19 PPG in the playoffs.

Dating from January 21st – February 7th, George had his worst stretch of the season. Averaging 15.3 PPG on 39% from the field, George scored seven points on 3-15 from the floor in the February 7th contest against the New Orleans Pelicans. This nine-game stretch from George was filled with his worst performances of the season.

Paired with his seven-point outing against the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs, a player of George’s tenure and caliber can’t have stretches to such a degree as a second option or a “1B” on a championship team. Acquiring George would mean accepting what comes with or attempting to condition the 34-year-old to perform to a set standard during his tenure. 

In addition to his inconsistent postseason performance, trading away Julius Randle, for example, would be a step back for the New York Knicks in this scenario. The walking double-double that is Randle lacks to assert himself as a dominant two-way player, but the tenacity he brings sets the tone for an offense that will go down swinging. George has had the luxury of playing with first-ballot Hall of Fame players and lacks the motivation to win. Both players have their woes, but gambling on George when your current forward is arguably better and younger would be malpractice. 

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