The New York Knicks didn’t open their treasure chest in the offseason for a superstar, but that doesn’t mean the front office didn’t reach out to rival teams about certain players. New York reportedly showed some interest in James Harden soon after he requested a trade, but that fizzled out, and rightfully so.
Zion Williamson is a player Knicks fans were hoping would wear orange and blue after leaving Duke, but the ping-pong balls fell in the Pelicans’ favor in 2019. New York selected RJ Barrett with the No. 3 pick instead, which, in retrospect, wasn’t bad given Williamson and Ja Morant’s history.
Williamson has shown superstar flashes in New Orleans, but his health has been a big concern. He’s played in only 114 games across four years, with a hamstring injury limiting him to only 29 games in 2022-23. Before Williamson got hurt last season, the Pelicans were one of the best teams in the West, but it was short-lived.
Controversy followed Williamson around this summer, and there were rumors that New Orleans could be considering trading the former No. 1 pick.
Marc Berman, who previously covered the Knicks for the New York Post, was a guest on ‘The Knicks Recap’ podcast and said New York “checked in” on Williamson over the summer.
Former Knicks beat reporter says New York inquired about Zion Williamson trade
Marc Berman said that if New York doesn’t land a star soon, “Leon Rose is out.” He brought up Zion Williamson and said the Pelicans “still aren’t sold” on the forward, and that’s when Berman said he was told that the Knicks reached out about Williamson.
Donovan Mitchell is another name Berman brought up. As others have said, Berman speculated that another disappointing season for the Cavaliers could result in the star guard hitting the trade market for the second time in three years.
Berman reiterated that Rose’s goal when he was hired in 2020 was to bring a star in based on his CAA connections. Interestingly enough, the former Knicks reporter added that the coaches “want an upgrade,” as in they want a trade for a star to happen.
New York contacting New Orleans about Zion is believable, especially given his career hasn’t gone as hoped with the Pelicans. This will be a pivotal year for Williamson, and if it’s another downer, maybe he’ll be the next superstar to be dealt.
However, to say Rose’s job is on the line doesn’t make sense. Except for Mitchell, the stars the Knicks have passed on have been for a good reason. You can easily argue that New York was wise not to go all-in on Mitchell because of Utah’s asking price, so it’s not as if Rose and Co. have botched any major deals.
It’s true that the front office can’t wait forever to make their move, and maybe their Joel Embiid wish will be granted in the next year. For now, there’s no need to panic and call for Leon Rose’s job.