The New York Knicks are coming off of a fantastic, feel-good season that not only saw the team make the NBA Playoffs but upset the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round. It may not have ended in the ultimate prize, but the Knicks’ 2022-23 season really could have been the start of something special.
In order to jump into the tier of true contenders, the Knicks likely have to make the long-awaited move to add a superstar to the roster. Signing Jalen Brunson was step one but trading for an All-NBA star to help lead the way could bring a championship back to Madison Square Garden.
This has made the Knicks a player for just about every disgruntled star that has hit the trade market. One of the recent stars to be tied to the Knicks is Zion Williamson, who reportedly no longer has a relationship with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Where there is smoke there is often fire and NBA fans could see a Zion trade sooner rather than later. If Bill Simmons is to be believed, Zion could be traded as soon as this week, meaning that the Knicks might be on the verge of making a massive trade for the 2019 first-overall pick.
NBA Rumors: Zion Williamson could be traded this week, Knicks have a great trade to offer
Trade conversations in the NBA move quickly. Just look at the Bradley Beal trade. The Phoenix Suns were not an initial frontrunner for Beal until they were and before we all knew it, Beal was a member of the Suns.
The Charlotte Hornets have been the team linked most to Zion as they could trade the second-overall pick to New Orleans in a package. While that might be enticing, the Hornets may also simply prefer to take Scoot Henderson and not take the risks that would come with Zion.
Regardless of what happens, the Knicks have the assets to outbid just about any other team in the league not in Charlotte or Portland. If New York were to pull off a massive Zion deal, it would probably follow a framework similar to this:
It is hard to assess exactly how many picks Williamson would get the Pelicans in a trade. On one hand, Williamson has shown that he can be a top-10 player in the league when he is healthy and firing on all cylinders. On the other hand, there are injury concerns and the Pelicans are not trading out of a place of leverage.
The floor is probably two first-round picks with the ceiling being four first-round picks. Adding Immanuel Quickley to the deal would certainly soften the blow of picks that needed to be traded as he alone is likely worth a first-round pick.
Many Knicks fans would probably prefer if the team traded someone like Obi Toppin over Quickley. While that would be ideal, the Pelicans are going to demand the better of the two cost-controlled young assets. If New Orleans has to take Randle instead of R.J. Barrett then they are going to demand Quickley be in the deal.
And quite frankly, this might be the best use of the asset that Quickley is. While he was great last season, he is due for an extension. How much is New York really willing to pay a backup point guard? In Quickley’s eyes, it is probably far better to go to a team like New Orleans where he can start and earn more. It would be painful, but it benefits all parties.
Williamson would replace Randle in the starting lineup and if he stays healthy the Knicks could have a core that can dominate the Eastern Conference, especially if Barrett can take another leap playing with his former college teammate.