If the New York Knicks want to pry Damian Lillard away from the Portland Trailblazers, it is going to cost them an extravagant number of assets. Ranging from draft selections to quality talent, president Leon Rose would have to accept the fact that parting ways with potential elite talent could be a requirement to land a bonafide star point guard.
One player who should be off-limits is RJ Barrett, as he took a tremendous step forward in his development last season. Elevating his average points to 17.6, Barrett also recorded 3.0 assists, 5.8 rebounds, and shot 44% from the field. He also advanced in the three-point category, elevating his numbers from 32% in his rookie season to 40% last year.
However, there have been whispers that RJ could be a trade piece in a blockbuster deal for Lillard, who has enjoyed four consecutive All-Star appearances and is nearly 31 years old.
In a Lillard trade, the Knicks don’t want to have their roster ransacked but likely are willing to give up three of their future first-round picks. RJ Barrett is not considered an untouchable in a deal for a superstar, according to a source.
The Knicks need to be efficient and not overzealous:
Adding Lillard to a team that already has Julius Randle would be extravagant, but the Knicks would lose some of their most valuable pieces in the process. Unfortunately, that is what it takes to trade for a big name, but these deals oftentimes bite back with a simple injury or expiration of a contract.
In this case, Lillard recently signed a four-year, $176 million extension with Portland, which includes a player option in the fourth season during the 2024-25 campaign. The Knicks would have three guaranteed years with Damian on the roster, but they would also lose the opportunity to develop Barrett further and realize his potential as a quality shooting guard.
Considering the jump the Canadian-born Player took last year, there is a reason to believe he could be a star in the coming seasons, but the Knicks will never know if they offer him up in a trade.
The more efficient move would be to sit patiently and wait for free agency to unfold, acquiring quality players with available funds instead of trading your biggest assets for singular players. While adding Lillard would be tremendous, tearing apart the roster could backfire in a big way.
Having just reached the postseason, the Knicks know what they are capable of, and adding talent to weak positions should be a priority, especially with an extremely deep point guard market.
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