After ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski announced that the Cleveland Cavaliers, not the New York Knicks, would be trading for Donovan Mitchell, there were mixed emotions in New York. The idea of trading for a star of Mitchell’s caliber is what every team hopes for, but at what cost?
The unprotected picks that the Cavaliers included in the deal were 2025, 2027, 2029. The pick swaps run in the years 2026 and 2028.
With Mitchell now off the table, the Knicks seem content with the roster they have. Having locked up Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, and signing Jalen Brunson in free agency, New York will most likely go into the 2022-23 season with the current roster as it stands.
However, Marc Berman of the New York Post tweeted there could be another name the Knicks look to:
If the Thunder are looking to move Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Knicks, as most teams in the NBA, will certainly be calling to inquire about the rising star.
Here’s why Shai Gilgeous-Alexander moving to The Big Apple would benefit the Knicks
1. Size in the backcourt
A critique that can be made of the signing of Jalen Brunson is that he lacks size. Standing at six-foot-one, Brunson often is a defensive liability, although he makes up for it with his offensive capabilities. Trading for Donovan Mitchell, who is also six-foot-one, would’ve given the Knicks a rather small backcourt. When you look around the NBA, most teams do possess a smaller guard, but rarely do teams have two playing next to each other.
Having size in the NBA matters. Just scan through the two teams that just made the NBA Finals. The Celtics rolled out a backcourt of Marcus Smart (six-foot-three) and Jaylen Brown (six-foot-six). They also picked up Malcolm Brogdon in the offseason, a six-foot-five combo guard.
Even with Stephen Curry being six-foot-two, the Warriors have made sure to surround him with bigger guards such as Klay Thompson (six-foot-six) and Jordan Poole (six-foot-four). Curry is also the exception to the smaller guard rule as he has proven that he can score on anyone regardless of height disadvantages.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would bring New York a nice size at six-foot-six. He would help offset Brunson’s smaller frame and would give the Knicks the ability to hide Brunson on defense. SGA can help guard opposing team’s best wings and is still improving as a defender.
In SI’s end of the year report card for SGA, Ross Lovelace noted that SGA has the size and length to be an elite defender. In 2021-22, he averaged a career-high in steals at 1.3 per game while also almost averaging a block per game.