The Knicks have been a desperation story in the NBA for nearly a decade. The last real success they had was when swingman Carmelo Anthony teamed up with Amare Stoudemire in New York. In the 2012 playoffs, the Knicks had a real shot of possibly reaching the NBA Finals, but were not able to overcome the Miami Heat super team led by Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh. While that is nothing to scoff at, that was the last time the Knicks were relevant.
At the beginning of this season, Knicks fans waited patiently to either win the Zion Williamson lottery sweepstakes or grab a major signing like Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving to become the franchise star. Neither of that happened, and they settled for signing a slew of power forwards including Julius Randle who is currently the team’s best player.
But the Knicks need to be aware of which players are realistic targets for the team, and which players are totally unrealistic. To narrow down which players the Knicks can actually get, it is time to analyze the top New York trade targets.
To start things off, it is worth mentioning that Anthony Davis is a completely unrealistic trade target. Davis is having another monster year, averaging 26.7 PPG and 9.4 RPG for the number one-seeded Lakers. Clearly, Davis is a superstar player and one of the best players in the world.
When it comes to dominance on both ends of the floor, Davis remains an MVP candidate. But he is also a free agent and will undoubtedly re-sign with the Lakers. He has a strong crew which includes LeBron James and is part of a very well-run franchise. There is no way he would choose to join a Knicks organization that just seems to be in a mess all the time.
On a more positive note, AD did consider New York on his list of preferred destinations to be traded to earlier in the year but ultimately was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers. For the time being, the Knicks will have t swallow the fact that there is almost zero chance that Anthony David will have on a Knicks uniform for the foreseeable future.
Ingram is another unrealistic target mainly due to his contract situation and the playing situation he is in at the moment. He has the opportunity to be a part of a Pelicans team that could be very special, thanks to the combination of young talent and great coaching.
Zion Williamson and Lonzo Ball are great teammates to play around, and Ingram can legitimately be the number once scoring option for a team that will be in the playoff hunt in the near future.
At the same time, the Pelicans will match any contract sheet that the Knicks will offer because Ingram is a restricted free agent. Even if he was not restricted, it doesn’t seem plausible why Ingram would risk missing the playoffs every year just to wear the Orange and blue jersey.
He has a great situation in New Orleans, and the front office will have the power to match any offers he receives which ultimately shuts down the Knicks chances.
Lastly, DeRozan is a very unlikely target. There are two major reasons why. The first is that DeRozan is a ball-dominant player, and he does not fit in the context of what the Knicks have at this point.
While the team did not get a chance at Zion Williamson, they instead drafted R.J. Barrett to be part of the team’s cornerstone going forward. DeRozan plays the same position as Barrett and will take the ball out of his hands, which ruins the entire Knicks’ plan of tanking last season.
Not to mention, DeRozan has stated that he has no ill feelings towards San Antonio and that he wants to win where he is. Even if he wanted to leave, I am sure he would give better offers than joining a Knicks team that seemingly has no direction or goals aimed towards winning.
Aaron Gordon is a nice young talent, and the Knicks might have a chance at snagging him to play the forward spot. Gordon is developing nicely and is having a good season by averaging 14.4 PPG and 7.6 RPG for the Magic. While these numbers are not All-Star level, he is clearly on the right path and is actually a player that will fill seats.
Gordon is an incredible dunker and a high-flyer, which would give the Knicks something to cheer about since Jeremy Lin swept the nation a few years ago. Gordon is also a player who has time to develop and can develop a nice partnership alongside R.J. Barrett and Julius Randle should the Knicks decide to keep the latter.
If there is one player the Knicks can realistically target, it is this high flying forward.
While the Knicks are in not desperate for another big man per se, Montrezl Harrell would immediately make them a better team. He is a fringe All-Star player who does it all on both ends of the floor, including crashing the boards and hustling for every ball. He is a free agent this summer and the Knicks can offer him a very lucrative contract.
There are few players in the league who play with Harrell’s passion, and this is sorely needed for a dull and lethargic Knicks team. Harrell’s energy would rub off on the entire team and actually start building a winning culture for an organization that seems to be addicted to losing.
Harrell is averaging 18.6 PPG and 7.1 RPG in a career year for the Clippers. Clearly, he would be an immediate addition to the Knicks by bringing defense and paint scoring. An injection of Harrelll’s energy would also wake everyone up on the floor, and start putting pressure on management to bring capable and dedicated players to the team.
Last but not least, Chris Paul should be the number one target for the Knicks. If the rumors are true, and Paul is being targeted, they should act fast. Paul is having yet another All-Star season by averaging 17.7 PPG and 6.8 APG for a surprisingly good Thunder team.
If any team wants to build a winning culture, acquiring Chris Paul almost automatically elevates the franchise. Look at what he did to the Clippers and Rockets, who have been championship contenders since the team traded for him.
Even if Paul is getting older and will certainly start declining, his leadership and on-court impact will immediately make the Knicks a more recognizable force in the league. Acquiring Chris Paul would change the Knick’s image, which is the first step in actually showing dedication towards winning. It would also give the Knicks their first All-Star player since the Carmelo Anthony era which did not end like it was supposed to.