Knicks Trade Rumors: Devin Booker 'Player to Watch' Due to Leon Rose Connection

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 4, 2020

PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 10: Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns smiles during the game on March 10 , 2020 at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
Sam Forencich/Getty Images

Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker is reportedly the "player to watch out for most" as the New York Knicks begin rebuilding their roster under new team president Leon Rose.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported Saturday that Booker has surpassed the Washington Wizards' Bradley Beal, Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard and Minnesota Timberwolves' Karl-Anthony Towns as the Knicks' potential No. 1 offseason target.

Booker previously employed Rose as his agent, and the 23-year-old University of Kentucky product told Berman in February he was confident in his former representative's ability to turn around the Knicks.

"I think he'll do unbelievable," he said. "One of the most genuine guys I know. One of the most honest guys I know. So I'm happy for him in his new position. I think the Knicks are in really good hands.[He's] very excited. It's a new challenge. And like I said, he's willing to take it on. I think he's going to do an unbelievable job."

Booker is under contract with the Suns through the 2023-24 NBA season as part of a five-year, $158.3 million contract he signed with the organization in July 2018.

He was enjoying a strong campaign before play was halted March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic. He averaged 26.1 points, 6.6 assists and 4.2 rebounds while shooting 48.7 percent from the field across 62 appearances and earned his first All-Star selection.

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Phoenix struggled despite Booker's individual success, though, posting a 26-39 record. The team was included in the NBA's restart plans but will enter the shortened eight-game finish to the regular season six games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff berth in the Western Conference.

Berman reported "recent rumblings" suggest the standout guard "could get tired of the perennial losing in Phoenix," creating a path for a possible blockbuster trade to the Knicks.

Of course, New York hasn't been a beacon of consistent success either. The team hasn't qualified for the playoffs since the 2012-13 season and has won just a single postseason series in the past 19 years.

The Knicks have some promising young players in RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox, but they lack the high-end superstars necessary to contend for titles. Barrett is the only member of the group who may eventually reach that level.

While Booker could become that second critical building block, there has been no indication as yet that Phoenix would even entertain offers for him during the offseason.