Things are going very poorly right now for the New York Knicks, as they are in a spat with Spike Lee over using the employee entrance he insists he’s always used. This has only further turned fans against owner James Dolan, resulting in some controversy over the handling of a “sell the team” chant that was started late in a loss to the Jazz on Wednesday.
Barring Dolan taking that advice from fans and selling the $4+ billion franchise, the only thing that will ever ease tensions is the team being actually good again, something that hasn’t happened in two decades on a consistent basis. The Knicks hoped this year would be the start of that dream of competence leading to contendership when they opened up two max slots for this past summer, but when Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving chose Brooklyn over Manhattan, they had to reassess their plans and made some less than inspiring moves.
The result has been another year at the bottom of the East, and there’s not a ton of optimism regarding their young players — or the prospects at the top of what’s considered a relatively weak 2020 draft class in terms of star potential. The free agency class this summer is likewise not robust, but the Knicks may try to turn their fortunes around this summer on the trade market, as The Athletic’s Frank Isola reports they are doing some digging on Chris Paul in preparation for possible trade discussions this offseason.
The Knicks, according to NBA sources, have been gathering intel on All Star Chris Paul and could make a run at him this summer. Paul, 34, carries a huge contract but he’s had a resurgent season in OKC & is proven leader. (He was also once represented by…Leon Rose.)
— Frank Isola (@TheFrankIsola) March 5, 2020
Now, this is a familiar refrain, as the Knicks are almost annually connected to some veteran star and that’s only going to continue with Leon Rose in charge. The Thunder’s surprisingly good season, which currently sees them solidly in the sixth seed and with all the veterans they acquired in their makeover this summer, makes the future very interesting in OKC. Paul has been a revelation, getting back to his Point God ways, and while the expectation since he arrived in Oklahoma was that he’d be dealt as soon as possible, there has to be some consideration for keeping him another year given the success they’ve had playing their three guard lineup, meaning he’s not blocking Shai Gilgeous-Alexander from developing.
The biggest question regarding this report is what the Knicks could even offer the Thunder in a trade. Salary-wise, they don’t have a lot of options to come close to matching Paul’s salary as Julius Randle would have to be involved, and likely so would Bobby Portis and whatever combination of young players and picks the Thunder wanted. The issue is that Paul has raised his value with his play this season and New York might not have the young players Oklahoma City would want and even in a shaky draft as far as star power, it’s hard to see the Knicks wanting to trade this year’s first for a 34-year-old point guard.
That said, they are the Knicks, but we don’t know how Leon Rose operates yet and maybe he really will change things around in New York. All told, this seems highly unlikely, but it’s worth monitoring as the summer approaches and the Knicks seek any kind of way to turn the tide in their favor.