Grade the Trade: Knicks help alleviate conference rival's issues in mock proposal

New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau
New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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Laying out the trade

In the Bleacher Report trade, the Knicks would gain Zach LaVine but lose two players and two future first-round picks.

LaVine-Knicks trade

New York has kept Evan Fournier on the roster in hopes of being able to include his $18.9 million salary in a trade for a star. Considering that he made his season debut on Friday against the Wizards, it's clear he isn't in the Knicks' future plans.

The same can't be said for RJ Barrett. He signed a four-year extension in the 2022 offseason amid the Donovan Mitchell trade saga. Barrett didn't get off to the start fans hoped he would in 2022-23, but he finished strong with a solid playoff performance that carried over to the FIBA World Cup.

In 2023-24, Barrett has been New York's most consistent player. He's missed a few games due to knee soreness and then a migraine. His absence was felt.

Bleacher Report's argument about why the Knicks should prefer LaVine over Barrett is comical.

"Over the course of his career, Barrett has been one of the game's least efficient scorers, and the Knicks have been better when he's off the floor.

Replacing him with LaVine's explosive scoring ability and outside shooting would open up the floor for the slashing of Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle and increase the team's chances of winning a second-round series."

Andy Bailey, Bleacher Report

It's a new season. Not only is Barrett shooting career bests in an efficient 45.4% from the field and 49% from three, but New York has been better with him on the floor.

LaVine's outside shooting hasn't been promising for the Bulls, as he's averaging a career-low 33.9% from three.

Barrett's the biggest hold-up in Bleacher Report's proposed trade, but he isn't the only reason the Knicks shouldn't pursue this deal.