The New York Knicks are heading into the 2022 off-season with a full head of steam, coming off an unlikely campaign where they made the postseason and established themselves as legitimate contenders. Likely not contenders for a championship, but at least respectable to make a postseason appearance, even if it means being dominated in the first series. The regular season taught us a lot about Tom Thibodeau and his band of misfit toys.
Ranging from players on one-year deals to long-term assets, the Knicks are in a position to take a step forward this offseason.
On Friday alone, the Knicks reportedly called the Portland Trailblazers to inquire about Damian Lillard and a potential trade. Lillard has been rumored to desire a departure from Portland after they failed to provide him with championship materials. His team has since been knocked out of the postseason by the Denver Nuggets, so of course, the Knicks have turned their attention to one of the best point guards in the NBA.
Alternatively, New York has the monetary flexibility to target Chris Paul, who is 36 years old and coming off two consecutive All-Star performances. Paul is looking for a three-year contract, which would expire at 39 years old, an age that might be a bit too risky for the Knicks.
Trading for the 30-year-old Lillard would be far more efficient, but he does come with a pricey contract over the next four years. He will be paid $176.2 million, hovering around the $40-45 million per year mark. The contract will end when he is 34 years old, two years younger than Chris Paul’s current age.
However, the Knicks are equipped with plenty of viable assets, ranging from youth pieces like having Knox and Mitchell Robinson to draft picks in 2022. They have two first-round picks, one of their own and another from the Dallas Mavericks in the Kristaps Porzingis trade.
Add $60-75 million in available funds and the Knicks have themselves all the resources to make a big splash this upcoming free agency. Hopefully, they can find a star to pair with Julius Randle, preferably a point guard who can take this team to the next level with elite court vision and scoring prowess.