It seems as if the New York Knicks are inching closer toward making the first big, splashy move of the Leon Rose era.
When Rose and Co. were brought in back in 2020, the sole purpose was to clean up the messes of past regimes and deliver New York a stable, winning team by leveraging Leon’s resources as being the figurehead of one of the largest and most successful talent agencies in the world.
Whether it was accomplished by organically building a team through the draft, minor trades, and free agency, or if it was done by making massive, blockbuster-esque moves was once up for debate. The Knicks made the playoffs as the fourth seed in the East last year without many adjustments to the previous year’s roster.
Now, after a lackluster season in which New York will surely miss the playoffs and play-in tournament altogether, it’s put up or shut up time for the Knicks’ brass. This is what makes this little rumor so…tasty.
Could Zion Williamson really be on his way to the New York Knicks?
With RJ Barrett recently coming into his own and becoming the homegrown star we’ve always hoped that he’d be, along with the implosion that was Julius Randle’s season, I think the front office has decided to pivot away from this being Randle’s team and more toward it being Barrett’s.
Back in January, New York made a trade for Cam Reddish, Barrett’s former college teammate. As most of you may know, there was a third star that lead the three-headed monster that was Duke Basketball in 2019. His name is Zion Williamson.
In a recent podcast, Amin Elhassan, formerly of ESPN, started to put the pieces of the Williamson puzzle together:
"“The real story they’re trying to hide from us isn’t ‘Zion isn’t going so well in New Orleans’ and isn’t ‘Zion is unhappy in New Orleans,’” Elhassan said on Basketball Illuminati. “The story they’re trying to hide from you is ‘Zion is destined to be a New York Knickerbocker.’”“Zion Williamson is represented by CAA (Creative Artists Agency),” Elhassan said. “Out in New York, you got Leon Rose, formerly of CAA. He’s the president of basketball ops. He’s assisted by William Wesley, also a former CAA person. Their head coach, Tom Thibodeau, is a CAA client as well. Look through their roster at the number of CAA players they have. That’s just the bare, basic, formulaic level at the top of how this franchise is so heavily influenced by this agency that desperately wants to move this client to a bigger platform.”"
It seems that the Reddish acquisition was a bit more calculated than what meets the eye. Not that it wasn’t blatantly obvious at surface level that this was a play to attract Williamson to begin with, but clearly, there’s some stuff going on behind the scenes.
If this is all smoke and mirrors, I’d believe it. This wouldn’t be the first time that the Knicks’ fanbase was duped by the media. However, this time around there seems to be more logical reasoning behind why this could make a ton of sense for everyone involved.