Knicks Rumors: Stars Consider NY a 'Destination' Franchise Again amid Resurgence

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 27, 2021

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle, left, reacts with forward Reggie Bullock, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, April 18, 2021, in New York.  (AP Photo/Adam Hunger, Pool)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

A surprising season for the New York Knicks has apparently made them an attractive landing spot for star players. 

Per Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Knicks' ascent to the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference standings has "helped restore their reputation to the point that star players are finally prepared to consider them a destination franchise again."

Before a 118-110 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Monday night, the Knicks had won nine straight games. It was their longest winning streak since the 2012-13 season when they won 13 in a row en route to a 54-28 record and an Atlantic Division title. 

New York is on the verge of posting its first winning record and playoff appearance since that season. First-year head coach Tom Thibodeau and team president Leon Rose, who is in his first full season, have done a terrific job of reshaping the roster. 

Julius Randle is averaging a double-double with 23.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per game and was named to his first All-Star team. RJ Barrett is living up to his potential as the No. 3 pick in 2019 with 17.5 points per game on 38.6 percent three-point shooting. 

The excitement level from fans at Madison Square Garden is as high as it has been in years. Even though this summer's free-agent class isn't deep, the Knicks can still make moves. 

Bradley Beal could become available in a trade. Lonzo Ball can become a restricted free agent and would fill New York's need for a playmaking distributor at point guard. 

Given how well the Knicks have been playing, there's no reason to think they won't eventually find superstar-level talents who want to play their home games at Madison Square Garden.