The New York Knicks have been a team mired in dysfunction and irrelevancy for years now, with each season resulting in a frustrated and angry feeling for the fans. Time and time again, the Knicks have fallen short of expectations, leaving for a franchise that has become the laughing stock of the NBA.
But amid a surprising run this season, which has them sitting fourth in the East, the Knicks have established themselves as a hot landing spot in the upcoming offseason, which could mark the official end of their woes. Apparently, the team's resurgence has them in play to sign several high-profile names, including Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan.
"There have been whispers for weeks that the Knicks’ flirtation with the East’s No. 4 seed has helped restore their reputation to the point that star players are finally prepared to consider them a destination franchise again," writes Marc Stein of The New York Times. "If that proves true, they will have multiple pathways to address the concerns you raised, whether it’s by trying to sign a savvy former All-Star like Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan on a short-term deal as a bridge to free-agent classes more star-laden than this summer’s, or by using future draft picks (perhaps packaged with Toppin) to construct a meaningful trade."
In a separate piece, Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer named Lonzo Ball, Normal Powell, and CP3 as potential future Knicks.
If New York decides to aggressively pitch a premier free agent this offseason, DeRozan would seem to fit the mold of a player receptive to Thibodeau's culture. The Spurs' swingman is believed to have an interest in returning to the Eastern Conference, sources said, and there is plenty of scoring opportunity open in the Knicks' rotation
Thibodeau also covets Trail Blazers swingman Norman Powell, who has an $11.6 million player option in 2021-22, sources said. And there are many Lonzo Ball supporters within the Knicks' front office who will likely lobby to sign New Orleans' point guard to an offer sheet.
There's also a wild card to keep an eye on. "It's hard to ignore the Leon-Chris Paul connection," another player agent said. While Paul has helped guide the Suns to the upper echelon of the West, the All-Star has a $44.2 million player option for next season.
After years of subpar play, this season could mark a turning of the tide for the Knicks. With Julius Randle emerging as an MVP candidate, the team sitting six games above .500, and head coach Tom Thibodeau establishing a winning culture, better days are seemingly ahead for the fans of this iconic franchise.
And, honestly, I can't think of a more deserving community.