Most would point to the Carmelo Anthony trade when gauging the New York Knicks’ success in parting ways with significant assets to acquire a star player. While Anthony earned seven All-Star appearances with the Knicks during his time in New York, they were forced to sell the farm to Denver in the process. Making a similar mistake this off-season would set them back years, even if it meant adding a point guard like Damian Lillard.
While the Carmelo trade is a perfect example for the Knicks regarding a scenario where overspending can bite back, the organization is entirely different from top to bottom. With new front office personnel and executives, the Knicks arenâ€™t keen to make the same mistake twice.
According to Ian Begley of SNY:
People in touch with the organization recently came away with the impression that New York would be interested in trading for Lillard, but would also be content to take a longer-term approach with the roster if the right opportunity didnâ€™t arise.
-19th, 21st, 32nd overall pick
-Immanuel Quickley/Obi Toppin/Mitchell Robinson
OFF LIMITS: Julius Randle, RJ Barrett
Seeking a long-term solution should be a priority for New York, and while Lillard recently signed a four-year, $176.2 million deal, which would theoretically keep him with the Knicks for the next three seasons, do they really want to trade valuable capital for three years of guaranteed elite point guard play? Alternatively, they could go out and sign Chris Paul with their available salary space, which wouldnâ€™t require them to part ways with draft selections or players. Paul is playing some of the best basketball of his life this season, averaging 16.4 points, 8.9 assists, and shooting .499 from the field.
I am just using Paul as an example to showcase why trading for Lillard would be gross mismanagement of assets. However, the Knicks will only be one of a dozen teams to target Portlandâ€™s star PG if he becomes available. Others on the market include Kyle Lowry, Dennis Schroder, Kendrick Nunn, and Lonzo Ball.
The point is simple, we should trust the front office simply because they arenâ€™t willing to make a drastic mistake that would set the franchise back years. Instead of trading the farm in an overzealous deal, they would rather seek a long-term solution that wonâ€™t strap them of draft selections and funds in free agency. Just take a look at the Brooklyn Nets; not even they could win with James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant on the roster. Injuries are unpredictable and sudden, so if Lillard were to go down with any issues, the Knicks would be scratching their head in contempt.
If Portland is requesting a major haul in return, which they likely will be if they decide to put Lillard on the market, the Knicks have the freedom to walk away and find an alternative option with ease.