Although the Knicks reportedly offered the Utah Jazz a generous package, they decided to go in a different direction and send Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Sources: The Cleveland Cavaliers are trading Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbaji, three first-round picks and two pick swaps to the Utah Jazz for Donovan Mitchell.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 1, 2022
As usual, the Knicks were linked to a big-name star, they went after him, but in the end, they didn’t get him.
It’s a sad scenario that Knicks fans have gotten used to for the past 20 years.
It is now time for New York to move forward with what they have and plot its next move in order to become a respectable team, if not a contending one.
At least one reporter thinks its next move could be to go after Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“The Knicks will be on the lookout for the next disgruntled player who goes on the trading block with Oklahoma City point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander previously mentioned.”
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) September 2, 2022
“The Knicks will be on the lookout for the next disgruntled player who goes on the trading block with Oklahoma City point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander previously mentioned,” wrote Marc Berman of the New York Post.
This could be a good option for the Knicks, especially considering several factors.
Gilgeous-Alexander Is A Rising Star
The 6-foot-6 guard doesn’t get much media attention, partly because he plays on one of the NBA’s worst teams, but he is an All-Star caliber player.
Last season, he averaged 24.5 points and 5.9 assists per game, and the year before, he shot 41.8 percent from 3-point range (he made just 30.0 percent of his treys in the 2021-22 campaign).
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander after the All-Star break:
30.4 points per game
5.8 rebounds per game
7.3 assists per game
The sky is the limit. pic.twitter.com/oBnRbhwQxn
— Alex (@AIexHoops) August 29, 2022
Defensively, Gilgeous-Alexander seems to have potential, as he averaged 1.3 steals and 0.8 blocked shots a game last year, and although he weighs just 180 pounds, he has an impressive wingspan of at least 6-foot-11.
With him and RJ Barrett at the wing position, the Knicks could cause problems for teams on the perimeter defensively and turn turnovers and miscues into easy transition baskets behind Gilgeous-Alexander’s generous athleticism.
Offensively, he has shown the potential to be able to carry a team, at least in stretches.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is one of the most brilliant offensive players in the NBA, overshadowed by some poor circumstances over the past couple seasons. pic.twitter.com/mo7afvaqLc
— 𝐇 𝐨 𝐨 𝐩 𝐕 𝐞 𝐧 𝐮 𝐞 (@KGsGOAT) August 31, 2022
It is certainly something the Knicks have sorely needed for a long time, as they haven’t had such a player such Patrick Ewing was still in his prime back in the first half of the 1990s.
The Thunder May Be Motivated To Trade Him
Oklahoma City is unabashedly in full rebuilding mode, and it may even be looking to tank.
Next summer, Victor Wembanyama, a 7-foot-2 phenom from France, is widely expected to become the top pick in the NBA draft, and perhaps the Thunder would love to have him.
If they could devise a way to play Chet Holmgren, the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, next to him, they could possess an intriguing twin towers combo for years to come.
In order to tank, the Thunder may have to trade Gilgeous-Alexander, and if they do so, he may not cost as much as Mitchell did.
It was widely speculated that Mitchell would’ve cost the Knicks Barrett, but perhaps they could nab Gilgeous-Alexander without giving up Barrett by instead including enough draft compensation.
Oklahoma City has been hoarding draft picks over the last couple of years like someone hoarding tickets for the Powerball jackpot, and perhaps that could open a pathway to the Knicks landing the University of Kentucky product.