The New York Knicks are 5-6 to start the 2022-23 season, which is what was expected for a team that’s still without a star. New York’s front office decided to not go all in and trade for three-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell over the summer, and so far, that decision has haunted fans with Mitchell averaging 31.9 points for the 8-3 Cleveland Cavaliers.
After holding onto their eight first-round picks over the offseason, the Knicks are still in a position to trade for a star. Just like the Utah Jazz decided to shop Rudy Gobert and Mitchell after failing to make a deep playoff run, there are going to be opportunities in the future for the front office to capitalize on. It could come down to a team deciding to blow things up or a disgruntled star wanting out, and when that happens, expect New York to be interested.
Ahead of the Knicks’ game in Brooklyn on Wednesday, Shams Charania said that NBA executives believe that Leon Rose is hoarding New York’s draft picks while waiting for the next “megastar” to become available. That isn’t surprising, considering that the Knicks were close to landing Spida.
Looking ahead, there are a few stars that could become available, whether it be this season or next.
4 stars Knicks could use their treasure chest of first-round picks to trade for
4: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the lone player on this list that hasn’t been named an All-Star, so you might be wondering why he made the cut. Well, not only is he on an Oklahoma City Thunder team that could end up tanking for Victor Wembanyama, but he’s only 24 and is a star. If SGA wasn’t on the Thunder, he’d be getting a lot more respect than he currently is.
He’s averaging 31.6 points through OKC’s first 10 games of the season and is shooting 53.7% from the field. He’s already scored 30+ points in six of the Thunder’s games thus far, most recently dropping 39 in a 136-132 double-overtime loss to the Bucks on Wednesday.
SGA has already been named NBA Western Conference Player of the week once this season and based on how he’s playing, it won’t be the only time he receives that honor. He isn’t only a factor on the offensive end, either.
Oklahoma City currently has the seventh-best defensive rating in the league. Standing at six-foot-six, Gilgeous-Alexander’s size and length are what made him stand out as a defensive draft prospect in 2018, and although he’s developed into an offensive threat, he’s a solid defender. So far this season, he’s averaging 1.9 steals (seventh-best in the league) and 1.5 blocks per game.
SGA has it all, and if Sam Presti decides to start talking calls for him this season, Leon Rose needs to do what it takes to bring the guard to New York City.