Proposed Knicks star trade idea could push New York away from contention

No way the Knicks would do this.
New York Knicks
New York Knicks / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

It's the offseason for the New York Knicks, meaning every star who could become available this summer will be connected to them. When the NBA offseason officially starts, things will get interesting.

Stars like Donovan Mitchell and Paul George could sign extensions to stay with their current teams, or they could pop up in trade rumors. George has a $48.8 million player option for 2024-25. He could decline it to become a free agent or opt in, hoping to be traded. If the latter scenario happens, the Knicks would likely be one of the interested teams.

New York tried to trade for PG13 before the 2023 NBA Draft but backed away because his price tag was too expensive. He's eligible to sign a max four-year deal worth $220 million. If the Knicks trade for him this summer, they'd not only have to give up players and picks but must be willing to pay him.

Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes listed George as an "ambitious" trade target for the Knicks. Buckley didn't create an exact trade but presented the frameworks of one:

"George could fetch the Clips some combination of Julius Randle, Miles McBride and/or Mitchell Robinson, plus multiple future first-rounders. If that package seems underwhelming, it's because the Clippers won't be in a strong negotiating position. George can leave for nothing in free agency if he wants."

Zach Buckley, Bleacher Report

Knicks need to be careful about going all-in for a star, especially Paul George

If the Knicks trade for a star, Julius Randle will likely be part of the package. He's due for an extension this summer. If he doesn't sign one, he could become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Athletic's Fred Katz reported that New York isn't trying to trade Randle, but knows he could be on the way out if the right star becomes available.

At the beginning of May, George turned 34. He played in 74 regular-season games in 2023-24, the most since the 2018-19 season when he played 77 with the Thunder. He missed LA's postseason run last year with a right knee sprain. In 2024, he averaged 19.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per contest in the Clippers' six playoff games.

If PG13 were a few years younger, it'd make sense for the Knicks to pursue him aggressively. That isn't the reality of the situation, though. If New York traded for George, the team's championship window would be short. Who knows if he could stay healthy for the majority of another season? The Knicks were already burnt by injuries in 2023-24.

If the front office gave up Randle and Bojan Bogdanovic (for example) and draft picks for George and committed a lot of money to him, there's a good chance it'd quickly come back to haunt them. There are always risks when trading for a star, but the risks of trading for PG13 are too much for the Knicks to ignore.

And, no, the trade Hughes proposed wouldn't be underwhelming for the Clippers.