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
3 of 3

Would the Knicks say yes to this trade?


Or, at least, they should say no. RJ Barrett's on the rise, and trading him to the Bulls would give a conference rival a promising young player. Not to mention, Barrett plays defense. Does LaVine? Chicago fans can answer that one.

Trading for LaVine would put the Knicks in a bad position financially. Including this season, he'll make $40+ million through his player option in 2026-27, a nearly $49 million player option. The new CBA that went into effect at the start of the season will penalize teams that go over the second tax apron. Taking on LaVine's contract would leave New York with no flexibility.

Signs are pointing toward LaVine landing in LA with the Lakers, which makes perfect sense, given his agent is Rich Paul. Let Rob Pelinka be the one to help accelerate Chicago's rebuild by trading for LaVine.

Time is ticking, and sooner rather than later, it's believed that the Knicks will make their big move for a star. That's been the goal since Leon Rose took over as team president in 2020. If former GM Scott Perry had it his way, the team would make a trade, but not for a star.

The verdict is still out on which star player New York will trade for, but it shouldn't be Zach LaVine. He's been an All-Star in recent seasons but doesn't qualify as the star the Knicks should go after. For now, keep RJ Barrett and let him cook!

Grade: D-