Knicks Rumors: Woj pumps the brakes on star chasing

What will it take for the New York Knicks to finally attract a star player to Madison Square Garden?

The New York Knicks are always rumored to be in the hunt for superstar free agents, but turning those rumors into reality has become a problem for the historic franchise. If the team has dreams of changing that trend, they need to prove they are a competent organization first, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.

Appearing on SNY’s The Putback show on Wednesday, Wojnarowski told Ian Begley that new team president Leon Rose has a lot of work to do to turn New York into an attractive destination.

“We’ve seen several years of free agencies where [New York] is not a place where you just want to be a star player and not be winning,” Wojnarowski said. “It doesn’t make sense. We’ve seen what’s important to players. And even less than where the market is, it’s ‘I want to win’ […] Just saying ‘it’s the Knicks and Madison Square Garden,’ that’s not enough.”

Begley added in the same show that at least one top player who is close to free agency would be reluctant to become the first star to join the Knicks.

Both insiders agreed that New York needs to build a competitive team before thinking about recruiting star players.

Leon Rose can create more than $40 million in cap space this offseason to improve a lackluster roster. The Knicks are one of the few teams who will have financial flexibility to sign free agents. However, there aren’t many marquee options available on the market. The most coveted player is probably Toronto point guard Fred VanVleet, who Wojnarowski seemed to doubt would be willing to leave the Raptors to sign with a struggling franchise.

New York has a young core of talent that includes 2018 second round steal Mitchell Robinson and 2019 lottery pick RJ Barrett. They have three picks in the upcoming draft, along with two future first round picks owed to them from Dallas from the Kristaps Porzingis trade.

However, Wojnarowski still doesn’t think the Knicks have the assets to trade for a “big player.” While the team has been tied to star guard Chris Paul, any trade for the future Hall-of-Famer would be largely based on providing the Oklahoma City Thunder cap relief.

The Knicks appear committed to a patient rebuild during Rose’s first season as team president. When Madison Square Garden becomes a preferred destination for star players will depend on how effective the former player agent is in building a competitive roster, beginning with the draft.