As we learned last week, David Griffin has begun listening to offers for Anthony Davis. Despite multiple meetings and conversations between the Pelicans and AD, it’s unlikely he stays. This has forced Griffin to open the lines of communication with other teams.
AD Still Likely Gone
The draft is a little less than 2 weeks away, so it’s unlikely that anything gets done before then. But should the Knicks force the issue for an AD trade? With increased rumors of Kyrie and the Nets having a mutual interest, the Knicks could use AD. He would be a bonafide start to attract KD and give the Knicks the edge in free agency. Of the 3 teams with 2 max spots, the Knicks would be the only with a superstar. The Nets and Clippers can’t say the same.
As has been stated before, a trade for AD would be very expensive for the Knicks. However, trading for him before signing 2 max stars would cost a little less. The Knicks would likely be able to hang onto a prospect or 2 if they traded for AD and took up cap space with his new deal. A trade for AD would strip the Knicks of many young players and leave the Knicks with strictly cap space to work with for the rest of the summer. Is that worth it to help your chances in free agency?
A trade for AD before landing a free agent is a major risk. Trading for him already signals that you are ready to take a step forward as a franchise. But what if the Knicks trade for him and then don’t sign any top free agents? Then they have traded for a player who wanted to leave NO because of lack of competitiveness. And then they will have placed him in the same situation. And this is dangerous because AD only has 1 year left on his deal. The Knicks have to put quality players around him to convince him to stay. Trading away many young guys is only the start of the risk. It could get worse if AD decides to leave after a year of being uncompetitive.
The other major teams involved to this point are the Lakers and Celtics. Maybe to a lesser extent the Clippers have been a team rumored to maybe make a trade. With all indications pointing towards a Kyrie Irving exit from Boston, it’s unlikely the Celtics part with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. The likelihood of them making that trade seems to be decreasing. The Lakers on the other hand probably have the best package available. The only problem is we don’t know what their front office sans Magic Johnson is willing to offer. We also know that NO doesn’t have much interest in doing business with the Lakers.
A lot of that is largely a smokescreen, one would think. NO has a responsibility to their fans and team to make the best trade possible. However, it does seem that they’d be more comfortable trading AD to an Eastern Conference team.
The Knicks do have a few things going for them over the other teams rumored to be involved. It all starts with having the 3rd overall pick in the draft. Had the Knicks fallen any lower, there would have been almost no chance of getting AD in a trade. But with the 3rd pick, the Knicks can draft RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson’s former Duke teammate and best friend. What better way for NO to kick off their rebuild than to pair the two former Duke stars together?
The Knicks also have the best overall draft picks of any team involved. Unless something drastic happens in Dallas, it’s more than likely they won’t be in the playoffs for the foreseeable future. The Knicks own an unprotected pick from Dallas in 2021 and another 1st round pick in 2023. In the stacked Western Conference, it’s tough to see a route to playoff contention for Dallas by 2021, making that pick extremely valuable. Not to mention, that could be the draft that includes players coming straight out of high school again. That would provide someone with an unprotected pick and a very deep class.
Lastly, the Knicks are lucky to be in the Eastern Conference. NO doesn’t want to trade a top 5 player in the league to a fellow Western Conference foe. Not just that, but the Lakers operate with a sense of cockiness that many GM’s don’t want to give in to. If things are close as far as offers are concerned, the Knicks could find themselves as the favorites.
A trade for AD is unlikely to materialize until July after the draft and new league year begins. Once free agents start to commit and sign to their franchises, the market will start to take a clearer shape. The Knicks would be smart to wait and hold tight until that point. NO is going to do their due diligence to make sure they make the right move and the Knicks should operate with that same patience.
Unless the Knicks lock up a superstar like Kevin Durant, they should stay far away from the exorbitant price AD would cost. But if they are able to get KD to sign, then they should go for it with full force and create the best duo in the Eastern Conference for 2019-20.
Featured Image: SNY