First off, congratulations to the Toronto Raptors for winning the first title in franchise history. Defeating the Warriors is no small feat, despite them having numerous devastating injuries. Kawhi Leonard showed how important it is to have a star and justified sitting a year as well.
As fun as it is to watch the NBA finals, we cannot ignore the fact that injuries have now altered the landscape in the NBA. Kevin Durant suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon attempting to come back in game 5. He should have never been on the court, but that’s a story for another time. Klay Thompson suffered a horrible fate as well, tearing his ACL in game 6. Both players are set to miss all of next season, with the injury to KD directly affecting the Knicks plans this summer.
With the trade of Anthony Davis complete and him joining the Lakers, where do the Knicks go from here?
Kevin Durant Still Priority Number 1
Regardless of KD likely missing the entire 2019-20 season, the Knicks should still put on the full court press. Some may say it’s crazy to max out a guy who just tore his Achilles but many teams would, not just the Knicks.
First, let’s backtrack before talking about the reasons to sign KD. With his injury, the Knicks backed off Anthony Davis and it was absolutely the correct move. With no hope to pair them together in the upcoming season, it would have been irresponsible to gut the roster. This isn’t a knock on AD’s ability, he’s a great player. But the Knicks do have a great thing going with the young guys on the roster. Adding the 3rd overall pick, presumably, RJ Barrett to the young talent is a positive addition.
With Anthony Davis headed to the Lakers and Kyrie Irving seemingly inching towards the Nets, the Knicks should continue to develop. That’s where KD comes in. The Knicks can sign Durant and still develop this season. With KD missing the season anyway, Coach Fizdale will get the entire season to groom his young players and incorporate veteran players. There are many free agents the Knicks can add this summer on short deals to help the young players improve. The Knicks would likely earn another high pick and can use that as trade bait or another young player to add to the roster. When KD is ready for his return in 2020, the Knicks can move pieces around to give him a competitive roster to play with.
What If KD Goes Elsewhere?
In the event that KD goes elsewhere, the Knicks aren’t affected and stay on the same course they currently are on. With KD not able to play for a full season, the Knicks aren’t under pressure to pull the trigger on something. While it would be disappointing to not get KD after a year of rumors, things changed after the Achilles injury. Maybe KD wants the security of being on a great team like the Warriors to ease his way back next year. Regardless, continuing an in house team build is the avenue that the Knicks should aim for anyways.
Reality Of This Past Week
There are two different realities of the past week that dealt directly with the Knicks. And those were the situations of KD and AD. Let’s start off with KD.
Durant rupturing his Achilles was a stomach punch to all Knicks fans. Before this playoff run, there was no doubt Golden State would 3-peat and KD could head to NYC with nothing left to accomplish. But basketball can turn in an instant and unfortunately injuries are part of the game. It is tough to be excited for a whole season about the likely possibility of KD coming to NY, to only see him get hurt and sidelined for a whole year. Make no mistake, KD signing with the Knicks would still be a big win for the franchise, as he’s sure to still have good years left. But now if he decides to go elsewhere, it’s really not as big a blow since he is sidelined for a whole season and may never be the same.
As for Anthony Davis, the Knicks made the right move. After KD got hurt, a trade for Davis didn’t make any sense. Rumors stated the Knicks offered this year’s pick, the unprotected Dallas 2021 pick and a choice of ONE of the youngsters. Ultimately that was never doing to be enough but the Knicks drawing the line in the sand was good.
Now people are going to get their jokes in on how the Knicks may come up short with their offseason plans and that’s ok. Sometimes the market changes and the franchise has to pivot as well. That’s what it means to run a business. The reality is the Knicks have a lot to look forward to. If RJ Barrett is the choice at 3, they are getting arguably the most skilled player in the draft. New York already boasts a solid young core of players and has 7 first round picks over the next 5 seasons. None of this even accounts for the fact that they have roughly $70 million in cap space available.
It’s important for fans to realize that the fact the Knicks have been listed as a destination for potential trades and free agents is a win. Agents used to steer their players away from the Knicks. Scott Perry put the Knicks in a position to be competitive to trade for players like AD. The franchise is just not quite ready for that leap yet. The young guys need more time under their belts. The Knicks could use a couple other assets for when the next star is available.
Lastly, the Lakers gave up a gargantuan haul for AD, which set up New Orleans perfectly to rebuild. Some are disappointed the Knicks didn’t really give a competitive offer but that’s nonsense. An equivalent trade to what the Lakers just gave up would have completely gutted the roster. And LeBron James is employed by the Lakers, not the Knicks.
There is no LeBron James looming in the background for the Knicks while the rest of the roster gets traded. But when the next available star is being traded for, the Knicks will be right there again waiting to strike.
Featured Image: The Knicks Wall