The Knicks have been starving for stars for years.
Instead, the Knicks have only gotten a cold rejection.
While the New York market and the franchise’s prestige give them an edge, the Knicks have ignored the first crucial steps to attracting stars: becoming at least a decent organization. Nobody wants to join a dumpster fire.
But after seven consecutive losing seasons (including losing 60% of their games in each of the past six years), the Knicks (18-17) look competent.
So the rumors of stars forcing their way into New York are gaining traction again.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst:
I’m saying that within the next 12 months, a superstar star bar player demands a move to New York. And I don’t know who it will be. I have some guesses. I’m not going to say it right here. I’ll let you start thinking about that. Let’s put it this way: League executives certainly have some guesswork. And I say that by next year’s trade deadline, a player, a superstar, an All-Star player, tries to force his way.
The Knicks have previously been linked to Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, Suns point guard Devin Booker and Wizards point guard Bradley Beal.
But Minnesota acquired D’Angelo Russell to appease Towns (although it hasn’t won with Russell and Towns). With Chris Paul in Phoenix, Booker is earning a lot more. Beal continues to show his loyalty to Washington.
Still, it’s a great league. The stars are often unhappy.
New York is reasonably well positioned to trade for one.
Knicks president Leon Rose is a former agent close to some stars and understands how to build that connection. Knicks executive William Wesley (“World Wide Wes”) is known for his relationships. New York has ample cap space and two additional first-round picks (the Mavericks are unprotected in 2021 and in the top 10 in 2023, 2024 or 2025). Julius Randle, who has a $ 19.8 million contract next season, is also attractive, whether for a star who wants to join a good teammate or for a team looking for sufficient performance in a trade.
In a league driven by stars, the Knicks should have an interest in whatever stars are available. But they must also proceed with caution. Paying too much to acquire a star can make it very difficult to build around it. (See Carmelo Anthony’s mandate). New York’s willingness to abandon any plan for just one ounce of star is dangerous.
Also remember: as much as the Knicks are beating expectations, they are only one game over .500. They could go backwards. James Dolan still owns the team and could undermine it all.
So this won’t be easy for the Knicks. They should try to hit while the iron is hot, but not overpay. It’s a tightrope that this franchise has struggled to walk for a while.
But it sure beats being irrelevant, and the Knicks certainly aren’t.