New York Knicks: Pros and cons of trading for Markelle Fultz

Philadelphia 76ers Markelle Fultz (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Philadelphia 76ers Markelle Fultz (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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New York Knicks
New York Knicks Courtney Lee  (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Pro: Can potentially shed Courtney Lee’s contract

The New York Knicks have wanted to trade Courtney Lee to shed money for the 2019 offseason, per Marc Berman of The New York Post. Whether that happens before the trade deadline remains to be seen, but, if it does, potential contenders are options.

Anyone that takes Lee assumes his $12.75 million in 2019-20. As just speculation, one team that may be desperate enough is the 76ers, especially after the Butler trade.

Lee has yet to play this season, due to a neck injury, but will seemingly return soon. Once that happens, he becomes a realistic trade target.

With the Knicks in a rebuild and the Sixers eyeing a title, could a veteran-for-youth swap happen?

Considering where Fultz went in the draft, he would be much to pay for a 33-year-old guard that acts as a role player. It’s also a testament to how far the former’s stock has fallen.

With the poor on-court play, off-court shot tinkering and seeing a specialist for shoulder issues, it’s difficult to find the value once given up for him via trade.

So, if the Sixers want another veteran that can shoot and play defense, and with enough comfort to move Fultz for this to push the championship aspirations, a deal can happen.

In this scenario, the Knicks take back a smaller salary than Lee’s, with Fultz’s $9.74 million for 2019-20 that Philadelphia already opted into. It still bites into their offseason flexibility, but if he shows enough promise in this audition, it may not sting as much.

If it doesn’t work out, the Knicks can attempt to move Fultz to another interested party that sees his upside. Teams will have open cap space then, once contracts expire with the start of free agency, so they may not be stuck if the relationship fails.