The New York Knicks are a team that has made it back to the playoffs this season due to the breakout season of All-Star Julius Randle and the coaching of Tom Thibodeau. There is no question that with that achievement, the Knicks have become a solid team that could be of interest to stars as a destination.
There is a scenario this offseason where the New York Knicks could potentially acquire some star power for their franchise, and become a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference for years to come. The New York Knicks could try and make a big splash for Kawhi Leonard and Damian Lillard this offseason, and here is how the scenario would unfold.
Sign Kawhi Leonard To A Long-Term Contract
Kawhi Leonard may have just had surgery on his ACL, but when he's fully healthy, he is one of the top 5 players in the league. Leonard has shown that he could be the primary scorer on a championship-caliber roster, and he has been able to step up in the biggest moments during the playoffs. The New York Knicks could attempt to sign Kawhi Leonard to a long-term contract this offseason if he ends up declining his player option with the Los Angeles Clippers, and becoming a free agent.
One of the reasons that Kawhi Leonard left the Toronto Raptors in 2019 and went to the Los Angeles Clippers was due to his desire to be close to home in Los Angeles. However, the New York Knicks are still an appealing destination that could appeal to a star of Leonard's caliber. We've already seen Julius Randle bring the New York Knicks to the playoffs as the primary offensive option. Even if Kawhi Leonard has to sit out until the playoffs, the New York Knicks would likely still be able to make it there, and potentially be a better team if Leonard returns. If Leonard elects to look at his potential options in free agency instead of just re-signing with the Clippers, then the Knicks would be a great option.
New York Knicks Land Damian Lillard In A Blockbuster Trade
New York Knicks Receive: Damian Lillard
Portland Trail Blazers Receive: RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Frank Ntilikina (sign and trade), Obi Toppin, a future first-round pick, a future second-round pick
Damian Lillard has been loyal to the Portland Trail Blazers throughout his career: however, it is possible that after a disappointing exit to the injury-riddled Denver Nuggets, Lillard could want out. If Damian Lillard does end up requesting a trade, the New York Knicks are one of the teams that have the assets to swing a trade for Damian Lillard.
In this trade package, the New York Knicks would send out two promising prospects in RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley. If the Portland Trail Blazers end up rebuilding, then Barrett and Quickley would get a lot of playing time for development purposes. RJ Barrett is an athletic wing who could become a solid two-way player with improvement, while Quickley is a great offensive guard with shot creation and range. Both certainly have upside as prospects, and along with the draft compensation the Knicks would receive, there's a lot to like about the future assets that the Trail Blazers would receive.
Obi Toppin is also a player that could benefit from more playing time, as his position overlapping with Julius Randle's prevented him from getting big minutes, even with Toppin's status as a lottery pick. Frank Ntilikina is a great defensive guard, and if he developed his offensive game, he could be an underrated piece. Overall, this is a package that would certainly intrigue the Portland Trail Blazers, though other teams could field similar offers.
New York Knicks Are Ready For The Championship
The New York Knicks could potentially have a dangerous squad for next season come playoff time. By adding Kawhi Leonard, and Damian Lillard and retaining Julius Randle in this scenario, the New York Knicks would have a big three in play. Mitchell Robinson would also stay on the New York Knicks with this plan, which gives them a solid starting quality center.
In terms of free agency, it is likely that the New York Knicks would elect to retain Derrick Rose, and he could even become a starter, depending on how the rest of the roster shakes out. A starting lineup featuring three All-Star caliber players alongside some solid contributors is a recipe for success, and if the New York Knicks were able to pull it off, it would certainly increase their chances of winning a championship. It is likely that some ring-chasing veterans would sign in free agency as well, simply due to the talent level on the roster.
While there are certainly other ways the New York Knicks could become a more competitive team, the scenario in this article provides them with the star power that would make them contenders. While the New York Knicks may not elect to follow this course of action, it is clear that a duo of Damian Lillard and Kawhi Leonard would have Madison Square Garden rocking come playoff time. Hopefully, the New York Knicks are able to make good moves this summer and potentially become a powerhouse franchise once again.