Familiar potential Knicks trade target emerges after embarrassing playoff sweep

The rumors have started!
New York Knicks
New York Knicks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The New York Knicks have been eyeing Devin Booker for years. Leon Rose used to represent Booker. The guard already has a relationship with the person who has brought the Knicks organization up from the ashes.

Booker seemed to be in a good spot in Phoenix. The Suns made the NBA Finals in 2021 but came up short against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks. Still, the team's future was promising. After Phoenix traded for Kevin Durant before the 2023 deadline, the Suns were supposed to return to the NBA Finals.

Last year, Phoenix was bounced out of the second round by the eventual champion. This year, the Suns were a first-round exit at the hands of the Timberwolves. Phoenix doesn't have the financial flexibility to upgrade its roster in the offseason. The Suns' future can be summed up by the fact that Bradley Beal will make $50 million in 2024-25.

Phoenix is in a terrible spot, but it's Mat Ishbia's doing. Rumors have been circulating about Frank Vogel, Durant, and Booker's futures.

On Monday's edition of ESPN's First Take, Stephen A. Smith said he's heard that Booker wants to be in New York.

Stephen A. Smith claims Devin Booker wants to play for Knicks

New York fans have every right to hesitate about a trade for Booker. The 2024-25 season will start the four-year, $224 million extension he signed in 2022. He'll make $49.4 million next season, $53.3 million in 2025-26, $57.3 million in 2026-27, and $61.2 million in 2027-28. That's a lot of money to commit to a player.

A trade would likely mean Julius Randle would be on the way out, as he'll be the highest-paid Knick next season at $27.6 million. New York would have to throw in another player to match Booker's salary (maybe Bojan Bogdanovic?) and draft assets.

If what SAS said is true, Rose and the front office shouldn't be giving much thought to a Booker trade right now. The Knicks are one win away from the second round. Jalen Brunson could lead New York to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2000. It's not too early to think about what the Knicks could do in the offseason, but the team still has a lot of basketball left to play.

One thing is true. There's a real chance a Booker trade would set New York back. No matter how much Rose likes Booker (and vice versa), the Knicks shouldn't jump at the opportunity to trade for the 27-year-old guard just because he may want to be in New York. The Knicks are no longer thirsting for talent! They already have it.