There are two interlocking circles this summer for the New York Knicks on the trade market. One is their patient search for a big star to pair with Jalen Brunson. They have been discussed alongside every star name anywhere near the trade market, from Damian Lillard and James Harden to Paul George and Trae Young — not to mention next year’s trade market and Joel Embiid.
The other circle is closer to home, with Evan Fournier tired of riding the pine and ready for a new locale. The Knicks don’t have to trade him, but his outspoken desire to get off the team makes it all the more likely they move on. The Knicks have almost certainly been holding onto Fournier to use as matching salary in a deal for a big star, but that limbo has understandably been difficult for Fournier to live in.
Can the Knicks make a first-step trade?
There is an interesting path available to the Knicks, one where they can move Fournier, get involved in a blockbuster deal for a star…but without landing that star themselves. Not crippling themselves in a future pursuit, but helping their team now and still staying equipped for the future. It would be one step that sets up that star-landing second step down the line.
How could such a deal happen? One of the most difficult parts of a superstar trade is finding a third team to help grease the wheels, to take on the player Team 1 doesn’t want to allow Team 2 to get their guy. Can the Knicks do that to help the Portland Trail Blazers trade Damian Lillard? Let’s see how.