Knicks rumors detail that New York attempted to land D’Angelo Russell in a trade with the Golden State Warriors at the 2020 trade deadline
The New York Knicks are evidently comfortable with the idea of building around a disgruntled star with their gained assets. No need to use those assets to draft a star, the free agency pull of the Knicks is clearly no longer there, an agitated star player is the strategy.
Well, OK then. If that’s the route they want to take, there are some options for the Knicks to consider.
Before this was their strategy, though, the team apparently went at D’Angelo Russell, trying to secure him in a trade with the Golden State Warriors at the 2020 trade deadline.
According to a report from Ian Begley which is revelatory of the Knicks pursuit of a disgruntled star, the Knicks offered a package centered on three players to the Warriors — Bobby Portis, Allonzo Trier and Frank Ntilikina.
The Knicks have several first-round draft picks over the next few years which should be a major reason for optimism for the future in New York. Leon Rose, newly hired team President will attempt to reshape the future of the team with those draft picks.
Back to the Russell trade, this deal was unlikely to materialize of anything past introductory discussions with the Warriors. Golden State has Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green to build around. The Warriors can make better use of one or two impact players and draft capital.
Allonzo Trier is a free agent after this season, so effectively the Knicks were trying to trade Portis and Ntilikina for Russell.
Portis is a great defender and decent 3-point shooter. Ntilikina has really failed to live up to expectations so far in his young career, something some might argue is more a product of opportunity and systematic issues than his skillset.
Instead, the Warriors got former first overall pick Andrew Wiggins, a first-round and second-round pick. Wiggins has had a rough last few seasons, and his contract is detestable, but the Warriors could be a good fit for his offensive game with the shooting options around him to let him provide supporting value through his mid-range shot profile.
Had the Knicks landed Russell, pairing him with a pick-and-roll threat in Mitchell Robinson would have been ideal. He has legitimate potential to be a top-10 point guard in the NBA, and threatens to turn the Minnesota Timberwolves into a strong Western Conference competitor alongside Karl-Anthony Towns.
Russell had a standout year with the neighboring Brooklyn Nets last season, averaging 23.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game on 36.9 percent 3-point shooting. Tack on a number of signature moments, as well.
While his defense is questionable, you can attempt to place enough above-average defenders around him for his high-powered offensive game to more than make up for his shortcomings on the defensive end.
Unfortunately, the Knicks future remains up in the air with no clear star to build around after a botched D’Angelo Russell trade attempt.