The New York Knicks are strategizing to develop a championship-worthy team, but the path to success involves carefully navigating around certain players who may negatively impact their journey. There’s no shortage of players in the league who could potentially detract more than they contribute to the team.
Therefore, here’s a word of caution to all Knicks enthusiasts hopeful for a triumphant 2023 season. Beware of these three players if they happen to pop up on the Knicks’ prospect list.
Karl-Anthony Towns is the first player on this list. Despite being a CAA client and having played under Tom Thibodeau while in Minnesota, the Knicks should avoid any blockbuster move involving Towns if Minnesota decides to part ways with him. Towns has proven inconsistent, especially when playing defense.
Towns would be an absolute financial nightmare for the Knicks. Last summer, he inked a four-year, $224 million supermax agreement and will earn over $50 million (a $62 million player option) between 2024-25 and 2027-28. Not to mention, Towns only played in 29 games last season due to injuries and other health issues. The Knicks should only go all-in on a superstar who hasn’t had a long history of injuries – something Towns cannot guarantee.
Trae Young has been the topic of trade talks for quite some time now, with the New York Knicks reportedly being interested in a potential deal. The Atlanta Hawks had an up-and-down season after acquiring All-Star guard Dejounte Murray before the 2022-23 season started, but they managed to finish 41-41 and still make it into the play-in tournament. Unfortunately, Boston eliminated them in the first round, furthering speculation that a big shakeup could be coming for Atlanta.
Although Young is an incredibly talented player, the Knicks should think twice before acquiring him. Not only did Atlanta experience a decline in wins despite having the young star on their roster, but he also has a five-year, $207 million agreement that could put them in salary cap purgatory if they decide to move forward without proper planning.
At 33 years of age, Damian Lillard has proven he can continue to produce at a high level, despite his age. Last season, Dame shot a career-high 46.3% from the field and 37.1% from beyond the arc, averaging 32.2 points, 7.3 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game.
Despite these excellent results, New York should not be involved in any prospective deal for Lillard because of their current New York Knicks odds of making the playoffs next year and because they would have to give up too much quality to obtain him.
Portland is reportedly willing to trade their third overall pick in the draft if they can get a proven veteran who can help them immediately, so any potential deal would involve sending multiple All-Stars and first-round picks away from New York. Unless the Knicks can pull off a miracle this summer, such a move would be too costly – financially and competitively – for them to make.
The New York Knicks have a lot of decisions to make this summer for them to be competitive next season. They should avoid Karl-Anthony Towns, Trae Young, and Damian Lillard at all costs as they look at potential moves that could improve their chances. These players come with hefty financial obligations and may need more time to provide the immediate impact the team needs to succeed.