Knicks' Hypothetical Blockbuster Trades to Shake Up NBA Offseason

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 19, 2022

Knicks' Hypothetical Blockbuster Trades to Shake Up NBA Offseason

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    Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    After following 2020-21's breakout with a 2021-22 flop, the New York Knicks enter the NBA offseason in need of something new.

    What that something should be remains a mystery, though, as does the means of acquiring it.

    Sure, the Knicks could use a point guard (as always), but they could also use more scorers, table-setters, shooters and stoppers.

    High-upside youth might help if the franchise wants to take the long road to redemption, but the temptation for a win-now upgrade is also strong, especially since the Knicks appear well-equipped to broker a summer blockbuster.

    On that note, let's examine three possible trades that could really shake things up in Gotham.

Taking a Flier on a Former MVP

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Blockbuster Idea: Evan Fournier, Alec Burks and Kemba Walker for Russell Westbrook and 2027 first-round pick

    Last summer, New York spent large on roster continuity and offensive upgrades. It didn't work. The offense was no better than the year before, the defense regressed and the bottom dropped out, resulting in New York's slide from fourth in the Eastern Conference to 11th.

    More than anything, this deal offers a chance for something different.

    For starters, this frees the Knicks from the money owed to Evan Fournier and mercifully ends the Kemba Walker experiment. It also puts Russell Westbrook's colossal—but expiring—$47.1 million player option on the books, per Spotrac, which creates some flexibility going forward. New York's point guard situation is also such a mess that it could be among the few teams that actually views Westbrook as on-court upgrade.

    Losing Alec Burks is tough, but grabbing a future first-round pick from a franchise with an aging roster more than cushions the blow.

Searching in Space City for Scoring and Spacing

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    Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    Blockbuster Idea: Mitchell Robinson (sign-and-trade), Cam Reddish and Kemba Walker to the Houston Rockets for Christian Wood and Eric Gordon

    Only seven teams had less efficient offenses than the Knicks last season, per NBA.com. Six had losing records, and all of them missed the playoffs.

    The Knicks need to collectively improve their scoring punch. This deal could help do it.

    Christian Wood is the highlight pickup and quite possibly available after Houston landed the No. 3 pick and a chance to draft his replacement.

    The 6'10" scoring forward still struggles with consistency, but his combination of size, athleticism and skill is seldom seen, even at this level. Since the start of 2020-21, he has averaged 19.1 points on 50.7 percent shooting and splashed 1.9 triples per night at a 38.4 percent clip.

    Eric Gordon is more than a throw-in here—maybe much more if he can recreate whatever led him to last season's renaissance.

    The 33-year-old set a new career high of 47.5 percent shooting and narrowly missed a second personal best with a 41.2 percent success rate from range.

Picking Up a Point Guard in Cleveland

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    Noah K. Murray/Associated Press

    Blockbuster Idea: Evan Fournier and No. 11 pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Collin Sexton (sign-and-trade)

    With a heaping helping of lottery luck, maybe the Knicks could have jumped into the range needed to pull Purdue's Jaden Ivey with a top-four pick. But lottery luck doesn't happen for this franchise, so it is stuck at No. 11, which may not be the greatest spot to snag a new floor general.

    If the Knicks are less than enthused about their options there and don't want to (or can't) chase Jalen Brunson in free agency, then packaging the pick with Fournier to land Collin Sexton could be worth exploring.

    The 23-year-old, who missed most of this season with a torn meniscus, is a walking bucket. He owns a career scoring average of an even 20 points per night, and that volume has been enhanced by an efficient 45.8/37.8/82.7 shooting slash.

    Sexton is a more natural scorer than a traditional point guard, but the Knicks might be OK with that, since Julius Randle and RJ Barrett initiate a lot of the offense anyway.

    Players of Sexton's age and ability aren't available often, but the rise of Darius Garland could make Cleveland hesitant about paying the Alabama product. That hesitation might be opportunity's knock for New York.

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