As the New York Knicks continue to struggle on offense, could they begin to look for a roster shake-up to reignite the team and make a bold move for the superstar they desire?
Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine may be on the trade block if the right offer comes along, and Bleacher Report thinks that the Knicks could be the ones to make that offer … especially if RJ Barrett is involved.
“Over the course of his career, Barrett has been one of the game’s least efficient scorers, and the Knicks have been better when he’s off the floor,” Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey writes. “Replacing him with LaVine’s explosive scoring ability and outside shooting would open up the floor for the slashing of Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle and increase the team’s chances of winning a second-round series.”
The hypothetical deal sends Barrett, Evan Fournier, a 2024 first-round pick, and a 2027 first-round pick to Chicago in return for LaVine.
This season, Barrett is averaging 22.6 points in seven games, which led the Knicks entering Monday’s game against the Boston Celtics. His true shooting percentage of 62 percent this season is miles better than anything he has done in a full season. Barrett’s value to the Knicks is also quite apparent: following Monday’s loss, which Barrett missed due to migraines, the Knicks (5-5) are winless when he’s not on the floor so far this season.
As for the other pieces of the imaginary deal, Fournier has been long-exiled from the New York rotation and has yet to appear in a game this season. The Knicks’ stockpiling of their future assets has also been well-documented, as the team has stayed quiet on draft night while continuing its pursuit of an established star.
While LaVine and Barrett both have similar scoring outputs, the former has been far more efficient and effective at creating offense in his career. In 77 games last season, LaVine averaged 24.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.2 assists while shooting 48.5 percent from the field and (37.5 percent from three). LaVine, however, has reportedly been wary of joining up with the Knicks due to president Leon Rose’s former connections with Creative Artists Agency, whose clients are supposedly favored in New York negotiations. The current Bulls star is repped by Klutch Sports, which is led by Rich Paul and also lists De’Aaron Fox, Draymond Green, and Paul’s longtime friend LeBron James among its clients.
The Knicks and Bulls have four meetings scheduled this season, the first on Jan. 3. In the meantime, the Knicks continue a five-game road trip on Monday night against the Atlanta Hawks (7:30 p.m. ET, MSG).