The New York Knicks are a team in decline this season, as they look to be in a position to miss the play-in tournament. That is absolutely shocking considering the Knicks shocked the world to capture the 4th seed in the East last year behind All-NBA performer Julius Randle. This year, the Knicks have looked terribly inconsistent and their offseason signings such as Kemba Walker have not worked out.
With plenty of blame going around to Julius Randle and even head coach Tom Thibodeau, the Knicks are once again in a difficult position. There have been rumors that their star player should be traded and that their coach should be fired, but perhaps the best way forward for New York is to keep everyone intact and wait for the upcoming offseason. There are plenty of talented guards available for the Knicks this offseason, and there could be some big names that could be realistically possible for them to attract.
Without further ado, here are the major backcourt offseason targets for the Knicks and if they are realistic additions or not. New York need an upgrade in guard play to give RJ Barrett and Julius Randle some perimeter help and scoring, and these players could boost the Knicks back in the playoffs soon.
10. Kendrick Nunn
Season Statistics: DNP
Kendrick Nunn has yet to play a game this season and was expected to be one of the younger faces in the Lakers squad this year. Considering how poor the Lakers have looked, Nunn would have been a massive boost. Nonetheless, the point guard could be in the cards for a long-term contract this offseason.
The Knicks could use the scoring prowess of Nunn, a talented point guard with plenty of confidence. Nunn averaged 14.6 PPG with the Heat in his second season last year, so he has plenty of room to grow and continue to improve as a scorer and playmaker.
9. Malik Monk
Season Statistics: 12.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.6 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.4 BPG
Malik Monk has been one of the bright spots for the Lakers because he is actually a younger guard with plenty of athleticism who can run the floor. Monk has thrived in his role with the Lakers this year, averaging a career-high in PPG and FG%.
Monk will likely not become an All-Star anytime soon, but there is no question he brings a ton of energy and athleticism to the court when he gets his minutes. Monk has stated he is happy in Los Angeles, but if the Knicks come knocking with a long-term contract that pays well, the guard could very realistically take his talents to New York. For the Knicks, more athleticism and scoring from the perimeter would certainly be welcomed to appease the frustrated fans.
8. Dennis Schroder
Season Statistics: 13.7 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 4.7 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.1 BPG
Dennis Schroder was traded once again, this time by the Boston Celtics to the tanking Houston Rockets. The speedy point guard seems to be an outcast at the moment, and there might not be a big reason why. He has plenty of offensive firepowers and could be suited in a role as a capable 6th man.
Schroder was averaging 14.4 PPG and 4.2 APG with the Celtics this year before he was traded and could provide similar production for the Knicks if New York takes a low-risk, high-reward gamble on the German. At only 28 years old, Dennis has a lot more basketball left in him and the Knicks could bring out the best in him next year.
7. Jalen Brunson
Season Statistics: 16.1 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 5.1 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.0 BPG
Jalen Brunson has proven to be invaluable for the Dallas Mavericks this season because he is a steady offensive presence whether he starts or comes off the bench. Despite only standing 6’1”, Brunson is a load to handle and gives defenders a problem as soon as he gets the ball.
A great dribbler and creator of his own shot, Brunson is averaging career-highs across the board as he contributes 32.2 MPG. Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson have developed excellent chemistry on the floor together, and it is likely Mark Cuban and the Mavericks will not want to change that anytime soon.
6. John Wall
Season Statistics: DNP
John Wall will never make another All-Star Team again, or could he? The New York Knicks need another All-Star caliber player to help the team improve, and there is no doubt that John Wall was one a few years ago. Clearly past his prime with shot knees, Wall is another low-risk, high-reward gamble by the Knicks.
New York can wait for the Houston Rockets to buy him out, or potentially take a gamble and swap the likes of Kemba Walker for Wall. If Wall can average close to his numbers last year (20.6 PPG, 6.9 APG), the Knicks will immediately improve on offense. At this stage, New York should plan to get rid of dead weight like Kemba Walker, and Wall could be a nice addition.
5. Collin Sexton
Season Statistics: 16.0 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.1 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.0 BPG
Collin Sexton, at only 23 years old, should be a part of the young core of the budding Cleveland Cavaliers. But the Cavs cannot afford to pay everybody at some point, and they could be looking to cash in on their young guard. Based on what we have seen, Sexton has All-Star potential.
Only one year removed from averaging 24.3 PPG, Collin Sexton has shown he can get hot in a second and has plenty of room to grow with a team that can properly utilize his talents. The Cavs have their franchise in the hands of 21-year-old Darius Garland and could move Sexton to not clog the backcourt. For the Knicks, that could be very good news.
4. Russell Westbrook
Season Statistics: 18.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 7.1 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Only Russell Westbrook could put up 18-7-7 and still be criticized for his play by the entire media and NBA fanbase. The former MVP is having a nightmare season for the Lakers in terms of impact, and not so much raw numbers. Russ has not played well alongside LeBron James, and that has been no secret because they do not fit together.
But Westbrook could be the answer for the Knicks. New York need a ball-handler and playmaker who can create for others, and also bring some excitement to the city. A core of Westbrook, RJ Barrett, and Julius Randle could certainly be enough for a playoff seeding again. With Westbrook’s value extremely low, the Knicks should take a gamble on the former MVP.
3. Tyler Herro
Season Statistics: 20.9 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.8 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.1 BPG
Tyler Herro is having a big year in his contract season and has showcased what he can really do when motivated. The young guard is putting up 21.1 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 3.8 APG as he sets his sights on the 6th Man of the Year award. A budding All-Star, Herro has already shown flashes of taking over games with offensive firepower.
There is one problem that prevents the Knicks from acquiring Herro: the Miami Heat will likely re-sign the 22-year-old to a max contract. The Heat have a championship-contending roster built around Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, and Herro fits in perfectly. Unless Miami are unconvinced Herro is worth max money, Knicks fans will likely not be seeing “Baby GOAT” on their roster anytime soon.
2. Donovan Mitchell
Season Statistics: 25.7 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 5.5 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.2 BPG
A bonafide All-Star in a competitive Western Conference, Donovan Mitchell has proven that he can be a franchise cornerstone player as he continues to develop his all-around game. The Utah Jazz have the 4th seed in the West so there shouldn’t be an issue for Mitchell wanting to leave, but rumors have come out lately that the shooting guard wants a change.
Knowing Mitchell’s flashy playing style, he could be an excellent addition to the New York Knicks. There is no doubt that the addition of Mitchell would place New York in top-4 seeding in the East once again, and a core of Mitchell with Randle and Barrett would be scary long-term. The Knicks will hope that the Rudy Gobert-Donovan Mitchell relationship is souring because they could certainly use the 3-time All-Star’s services.
1. Damian Lillard
Season Statistics: 24.0 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 7.3 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.4 BPG
A superstar of Damian Lillard’s caliber would almost certainly request a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers at this point, but the point guard has proven to be too loyal for his own good. It seems Lillard does not want to leave, even if Portland traded away win-now players such as Norman Powell and Robert Covington.
Lillard to the Knicks makes perfect sense after all…..to Knicks fans. Dame does not seem too interested in leaving Portland to play for a bigger market, and would probably prefer to play with a championship-ready team rather than a building one. Even if Lillard would light New York City on fire, it probably will never happen.