The New York Knicks had been the NBA’s largest shock final season. The Knicks entered the 12 months anticipated to be one of many worst groups within the league earlier than a surprising turnaround of their first season underneath Tom Thibodeau that noticed them earn dwelling courtroom benefit within the Japanese Convention playoffs. Sadly for the Knicks, the clock struck midnight when the postseason started, and their charmed 12 months finally had a bitter ending when Trae Younger and the Atlanta Hawks dominated New York over 5 video games.
The Knicks hoped to construct off final season’s success heading into 12 months 2 underneath Thibodeau, nevertheless it simply hasn’t occurred. Midway by way of the season, the Knicks are a .500 workforce and would miss the play-in event if the season ended at this time. A part of that’s as a result of the East is way improved from final season; a part of it’s as a result of a number of key performers — most notably, reigning All-NBA ahead Julius Randle — have skilled vital downturns in manufacturing. The Knicks aren’t dangerous within the methods they’ve normally been dangerous, however they’re nonetheless disappointing.
On Thursday, the Knicks swung a commerce for an additional piece in try to make a push up the standings. New York acquired Cam Reddish from the Atlanta Hawks in alternate for a 2022 first spherical choose initially owned by the Charlotte Hornets and fourth-year wing Kevin Knox. Reddish ought to present minutes on the wing for New York immediately, nevertheless it’s extra enjoyable to consider how the deal might affect the franchise’s future.
Only some years again, Duke basketball had one of many biggest freshmen lessons in current reminiscence. The Blue Devils landed the highest three recruits within the nation for the primary time within the fashionable historical past of faculty basketball in RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson, and Cam Reddish. Duke additionally had one other consensus top-20 recruit in Tre Jones.
Whereas Barrett was the consensus high prospect heading into the 12 months, Williamson instantly emerged as a supernova. He was one of many nice abilities faculty basketball has seen during the last decade, and it made each Duke recreation really feel like a must-watch. Whereas Williamson thrived, Barrett and Reddish additionally had their moments. Duke earned a No. 1 seed within the NCAA event and was the favourite to win the nationwide championship earlier than getting shocked by Michigan State within the Elite Eight.
Williamson was the no-brainer high prospect heading into the draft, with 14 NBA groups hanging on the lottery outcomes to see who would get him. The New Orleans Pelicans jumped manner up the order to be the surprising winners of the No. 1 choose and the rights to Williamson. The Knicks got here in with the third choose. Williamson was reportedly bummed to see Knicks fall to No. 3 as a result of he’s all the time had an affinity for taking part in in Madison Sq. Backyard.
Zion went No. 1 to the Pelicans, the Knicks took Barrett at No. 3, and Reddish went No. 10 to the Atlanta Hawks.
Quick ahead two and a half years, and Barrett and Reddish are collectively once more enjoying in New York. Williamson hasn’t performed a recreation all season as he recovers from a foot harm, however he’s been unimaginable for the Pelicans when he’s really on the courtroom. Sadly for the Pelicans, Zion’s love of New York has by no means actually dissipated. There have been stories he’s been upset with the course of the Pelicans, and he by no means misses a chance to speak about how a lot he loves Madison Sq. Backyard.
Now Williamson’s shut pals Barrett and Reddish are collectively on the Knicks. Williamson stays caught in New Orleans, and he may not play all 12 months due to this foot harm. All three gamers have yet one more 12 months left on their rookie contracts after which will grow to be extension eligible. Anybody who doesn’t signal an extension may have two choices: a) grow to be a restricted free agent and provides their incumbent workforce the precise to match any supply, or b) play on a one-year qualifying supply after which hit restricted free company the following 12 months.
Williamson will nonetheless probably get a max extension supply from the Pelicans regardless of his harm points. He must flip down a contract probably price $200 million for the precise to choose his workforce beginning along with his sixth professional season. That’s an enormous threat for somebody along with his harm historical past, although maybe Zion’s profitable endorsement offers make it extra palatable.
It’s no secret Zion loves New York. It’s additionally no secret Zion loves Reddish and Barrett. With the Knicks transfer to land Reddish on Thursday, it’s attainable New York is laying the groundwork to in the future land Zion. It’s nonetheless difficult getting Williamson to New York, however at this level it’s exhausting to think about him enjoying anyplace else on his subsequent workforce.
Are the Knicks going to pluck Tre Jones from the Spurs subsequent? What about buying Marques Bolden from the Jazz’s G League workforce? The Knicks are getting the 2019 Duke band again collectively, they usually simply want Zion to complete the job.
The Knicks simply higher hope they don’t see Cassius Winston or some other Spartan within the close to future, as a result of we all know how that one turned out.
For now, Barrett and Reddish are reunited on the Knicks. Zion is sidelined within the current, and his future stays unknowable. It simply isn’t exhausting to think about all three coming collectively once more in the future in New York.