2 hyperbolic trades the Knicks should seriously make
The New York Knicks ended a 7-year playoff drought last year, and while they did go out in the first round to the Atlanta Hawks, the storied franchise still made strides towards exiting their circle of incompetency. Additions of primarily Julius Randle, but also the likes of Derrick Rose, clearly pushed the roster ahead of pre-season predictions. Those predictions had the Knicks in the lottery once again.
To take the next step, these are two trades that the Knicks might need to make.
Zach LaVine to the Knicks, Alec Burks and RJ Barrett to the Bulls
Obviously, it is very hard to expect that the Chicago Bulls will accept any trade for their superstar wing, but LaVine might be the reason why the Knicks start seriously aiming for the top of the Eastern Conference. Both Barrett and LaVine play the 2-guard position, and LaVine would be a clear upgrade for a Knicks teams that aims to go further than the first round in this year’s postseason.
The Chicago Bulls have had a very busy summer, losing forward Lauri Markkanen, but adding Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan and Alex Caruso. While it can be said that the focus was to build around LaVine, Barrett does show immense potential and would be worth looking over for this Chicago team.
Last year, the 21-year-old massively improved in almost every metric, scoring 17.6 points on 44.1/40.1/74.6 shooting splits. He also added 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists, which are good numbers for a second year player. He is showing a lot of potential, as it was mentioned previously, and the Bulls would be pairing him up with Ball, who is not exactly a sophomore, but is still very young and a piece worth building around.
On the other hand, LaVine averaged a massive 27.4 points on 50.4/41.9/84.9 shooting splits, which is impeccable. Of course, he did it for a poor Bulls team that did not contend for the playoffs, but it is still very impressive. Pairing him up with Julius Randle, who also had a career year like LaVine, would be an explosion of young, athletic scoring from the wings. With Kemba Walker now running the show in the Garden, with LaVine in this hypothetical trade, the Knicks would be very fun to watch.
Of course, since the Bulls would be losing their star player, it can be said that the Knicks could spend some of their draft picks to sweeten the deal. They possess all of their own first round selections, with possibilities to receive picks from the Charlotte Hornets and Dallas Mavericks, if certain conditions are met.
Bradley Beal to the Knicks; RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox, Alec Burks, Immanuel Quickley, Miles McBride to the Wizards
As it is widely known, the Wizards do not want to let go of their superstar that easily. Bradley Beal is one of the rare players who is a good leader, excellent shooter and someone severely committed to the franchise, as he has shown with his statements in the past. However, the Knicks do have the draft picks, as mentioned above, and the young players to make the deal completely worth it for the rebuilding Wizards.
Everything has been said about the Barrett part of the equation above, but the other pieces in the trade would definitely help out to try and snap up the 3-time All-Star from the capital city. Kevin Knox and Immanuel Quickley are very good prospects, and they would have tons of playing time in Washington, providing them with a chance to further improve and reach their potential. It also has to be mentioned that Miles McBride and Alec Burks are there to make all the salaries work, but can still be interesting parts of the rotation for the Wizards.
Kevin Knox entered the league in 2018 and hit the ground running, averaging 12.8 points for New York. It is true that he had two poor years since then, seeing his minutes reduced from almost 29 in the 2018-19 season to just 11 last season, but he still has all the potential to be a good shooting wing.
On the other hand, Immanuel Quickley is entering his second year in the league, and even though he was drafted in the late first round, he showed that he can be counted on, even in the postseason for the Knicks. He averaged 11.4 points on 39.5/38.9/89.1 shooting splits, adding 2.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists, meaning that he does need to expand his game beyond simply scoring and that he needs to increase his efficiency. However, there would be plenty of playing time in Washington to do this, and he would be under the watching eye of NBA veteran, Spencer Dinwiddie.
Obviously, the Bradley Beal angle for the Knicks needs no introduction. A 30-PPG player who would be paired up with All-Stars Kemba Walker and Julius Randle is a recipe for success, especially in the East, where anything can happen.
Of course, the Knicks would not exactly be the top contender, with the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks carrying that torch for the East, but they would be up there and could surprise some teams. Beal would not be asked to carry that much of an offensive load, as both Randle and Walker can fill it up on any given night. While his commitment to Washington should never be underestimated, the Wizards might look to cash in on the star as soon as possible.
The New York Knicks are a storied franchise with a very rich history, and it is clear that the NBA is much more interesting when the Knicks are good. The first-round exit for Tom Thibodeau’s team must be disappointing, especially since the Knicks entered the postseason as the higher seed, but it was a valuable experience for the whole roster. Now, even without the trades mentioned above, the team is expected to make the playoffs again, with more success this time. However, the aforementioned trades would be the difference between a playoff team and a playoff contender.