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Knicks Trade Rumors: NY Is 'Most Aggressive' Suitor for Cavaliers' Collin Sexton

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 13, 2021

Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The New York Knicks reportedly continue to explore a potential deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers for guard Collin Sexton.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Tuesday the Knicks are the "most aggressive trade suitor" for Sexton, who's eligible for an extension this offseason before the final guaranteed season of his four-year, $20.2 million rookie contract.

Sexton led the Cavs in scoring at 24.3 points per game as part of his best statistical season since the franchise selected him with the eighth overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft. He also averaged 4.4 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 1.6 threes and 1.0 steals while shooting 47.5 percent from the field during the 2020-21 campaign.

The key question is whether his defense will ever improve enough to allow his offensive prowess to provide maximum value.

He's graded out negatively on defense in all three of his pro seasons—minus-13 aggregate based on the defensive Raptor metric from FiveThirtyEight—but each passing campaign has brought marginal improvement at that end of the floor. Even reaching break-even defense would be acceptable.

Yet, despite his steady progress at both ends of the floor, the Cavaliers enter the offseason with some key decisions to make.

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They also have point guard Darius Garland and wing Isaac Okoro on the roster, and the No. 3 overall pick in the draft could land another guard such as Jalen Green or Jalen Suggs. So moving Sexton while he's closing in on a new contract is certainly an option.

Jason Lloyd of The Athletic previously reported the Cavs were planning to offer Sexton a max extension, but based on his more recent conversations, he "no longer" believes that's the case with the guard now "very available" for trade heading into the offseason.

Meanwhile, the Knicks' search for a long-term answer at point guard has spanned several presidential administrations and remains an active hunt after an otherwise promising season that seen the franchise reach the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

The Phoenix Suns' Chris Paul figures to become New York's main target, but his availability may depend on how the Suns do in the NBA Finals as Phoenix may look to run it back with the same group to chase a repeat if it beats the Milwaukee Bucks.

SNY's Ian Begley reported in early July that Paul's "name has come up internally as one of the players the Knicks could target at point guard this summer," but that's contingent on him deciding to explore offers beyond Phoenix.

If Paul isn't available, then it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Knicks amplify their efforts to go after a high-upside option like Sexton who'd fit alongside Julius Randle and RJ Barrett.

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