Should the Knicks trade for Anthony Davis?
By Brandon B
It’s been a nightmarish decade or two for the New York Knicks. The last time the Knicks finished with a winning record was in 2012. The last time the Knickerbockers won the NBA finals, Watergate was in full swing, Reggie Jackson and Pete Rose had just taken MLB, AL and NL MVP award honors, Knicks GM Scott Perry was 11 years old and not one current Knicks player had even been born. 1973. The Knicks won the NBA finals in 1973, and they haven’t won since. Cursed? A joke? An embarrassment to New York? All of these have been asked about the abysmal New York Knicks who have let fans down for years and just finished with a league worst 17-65 this past season.
The Knicks have seen there fair share of bad management. From James Dolan to Isiah Thomas, to Phill Jackson, to Steve Mills. Its been frustrating to say the least. But now, there is some element of hope despite the Knicks trading there franchise star Kristaps Porzingis. Despite tying there franchise worst record this season, the Knicks are tied for the top odds to land the number 1 pick (Zion Williamson) in the upcoming draft, they have an exciting young core headlined by guys like Mitchell Robinson, Allonzo Trier, Kevin Knox and Dennis Smith Jr. Oh right, and they also have two max slots this upcoming offseason to try and chase top flight free agents. And this free agency class is flashy. Guys like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Kemba Walker, Demarcus Cousins, Jimmy Butler and Klay Thompson will be guys hitting the open market this July. And the Knicks have a chance to reel in two thanks to the cap space they freed up in the KP deal.
The Knicks will have a lot of options this summer to try and turn this sinking franchise around. But one of the most intriguing options would be packaging a deal to bring in Pelicans star Anthony Davis. The Pelicans started shopping Davis after he formally requested a trade before the trade deadline. The Knicks were immediately linked to the star power forward. But the Knicks did not have enough capital to make a splashy move work. But now, one college kid could make a AD to NY deal work. That kid: Zion Williamson.
If the Knicks land the first pick in Tuesday’s lottery, they will have 2 real options. Option 1, take the 6’7’’ 284 lb freak of nature Zion Williamson and run with it. Either build around Zion with Robinson, Knox, Smith and the other young Knicks and continue to develop them. Or if the Knicks are lucky enough to bring in Durant and Irving, like they have been rumored so much to do, bring Zion in and be a 3rd fiddle. Or Option 2, trade the first pick along with other assets and bring in Anthony Davis. And pair him with 2 other max free agents. Preferably KD and Kyrie. And form arguably one of the best big 3s ever assembled.Both are interesting options and both will change the course of the Knicks franchise forever. Big decisions.
Let’s get into the pros and cons of each.
Trade the farm for Davis
A deal where Anthony Davis is wearing orange and blue would take a lot to happen. You have to assume the Knicks land the number one pick, or at least top 3. You have to assume top free agents have the Knicks high on there list. Because the Knicks aren’t selling the farm with all there young talent, to turn into a poor mans version of the Pelicans. With Anthony Davis and a whole lot of nothing.
So let’s just assume for a second the rumors are true and Durant and Kyrie want New York. Pairing Anthony Davis with KD and Kyrie could be deadly. And it could work too cap wise too. As ESPNs Kevin Pelton broke down. You could argue they would have 3 top 10 players in the league. A similar structure to James/Wade/Bosh, Durant/Westbrook/Harden, Jordan/Pippen/Rodman. Whoever you want to compare it too they’d stack up with some of the greatest big 3s ever. All 3 players have shown they can carry a team into the playoffs being the number one option. All together could be lethal. If they were all healthy, I couldn’t find a team those guys couldn’t beat. With the Warriors weakened, you could argue that team carried by that trio could be a serious finals contender. If you sign KD and Kyrie, they will both want to win right away. And a new draft pick may need a little bit of time to develop. Trading for Davis could be the guy they need to put them over the edge and in complete win now mode for the next 5 years. Davis, when healthy, has put up MVP level numbers throughout his career and has shown how he can dominate a game. And if the Knicks strike a deal on draft night, this could help lure the free agents to want to play with the star forward .With a top pick, the Knicks may have just enough to strike a deal, making potentially the greatest big 3 ever. But this is a big IF.
Keep the youngins, trust the process
One negative for trading for one of the best players in the league... you have to trade everything. And I mean literally everything. A deal where the Knicks got Anthony Davis would strip the Knicks of any assets they may have. That means goodbye Mitchell Robinson, goodbye a Kevin Knox, possibly goodbye Allonzo Trier. And maybe Frank Ntilikina and Damyean Dotson if New Orleans feels like it. That would leave the Knicks with Davis, whichever free agents they can catch with there large amounts of cap space, and not much else. If the Knicks are able to put together that big 3, they wouldn’t have much insurance if one or more of them goes down. And all of them have had injury trouble in the past. Irving went down last season with a knee injury. And it wasn’t the first time his knee aggravated him. Durant and Davis both sat out due to injuries this season and Durant is currently hurt right now. The Knicks would have nobody to back them up and therefore, they would be banking there seasons on three injury prone players.
But the centerpiece of any deal involving Davis would involve the Knicks top pick this upcoming draft. The pick the Knicks worked hard to get. And if that is indeed the number one pick, which there is a 14% chance of it being that, it would bold of the Knicks to package Zion Williamson, who many see as a younger, cheaper version of Anthony Davis, and other young players, for Anthony Davis. All championship teams have won with very good depth. The Warriors have Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston among others. If you only have 3 great players and nothing else, you have to have your stars play more minutes and therefore wearing them down. Maybe it’d be best just taking the top player, and building around a young core. And hey, you can still sign those top free agents and contend.
Whatever the Knicks do this offseason will he talked about for years. And it will be heavily analyzed whether they the right moves or not. This is probably the biggest offseason in Knicks history. So no pressure Scott...