While Rose, the Knicks rookie president, has Paul on his trade radar, putting together a package for younger Pacers’ guard Victor Oladipo is expected to be a higher priority, according to NBA officials.
The Knicks keep getting linked to stars (especially former Leon Rose clients, like Oladipo and Paul). The team can’t control every report written. But it’s not as if the franchise has previously discouraged this type of talk. Owner James Dolan often applies pressure to make big gains quickly.
The situation is ripe for embarrassment.
Trading for Oladipo specifically would carry so many potential landmines for New York:
- First, the Knicks must offer enough to entice Indiana. New York has multiple extra first-round picks, but Oladipo wouldn’t come cheap. Many teams would want him.
- Oladipo has health concerns. He just missed more than a year with a leg injury and considered not playing in the NBA’s resumption as a result. Though he ultimately played, he struggled.
- Oladipo is headed toward 2021 unrestricted free agency. He just said he valued winning over being a team’s main star. Does that sound like someone who’d stay with the Knicks? He could sign an extension in conjunction with a trade, but it’s difficult to find a fair price considering the wide gulf between his ability when healthy and what he showed upon returning late this season.
- Even if Oladipo returns to form and stays with the Knicks, how far will that get them? There’d be value in New York ending its seven-year playoff drought, even without winning a series. But Oladipo isn’t necessarily good enough to singlehandedly carry a lacking roster into the postseason. Maybe Oladipo (28) will remain in his prime long enough to win with R.J. Barrett (20), Mitchell Robinson (22) and New York’s No. 8 pick. But that is a substantial age gap.
Oladipo is a competitor who’d help the Knicks’ culture, and he could return to stardom as he gains separation from his injury. Of course, New York wants him.
But should the Knicks make the strongest trade offer for him? Probably not.
Will the Knicks make the the strongest trade offer for him? Probably not.
Most likely, this is a typical case of New York hype getting carried away.