As reported by Fred Katz of the Athletic, the Knicks are interested in trading for Bradley Beal if he were to become available.
Bradley Beal could very well be on the move this summer, with the Knicks and other teams already showing interest. Still, New York’s intrigue poses a few obvious questions.
What does this mean for the league? What can the Knicks offer to the Wizards in a deal for the all-star? Should the Knicks make this move or wait for the next star?
The Knicks could match salary very easily by offering Derrick Rose (Knicks would have to accept the team option so the deal would have to happen in the next couple of days), Evan Fournier, and Isaiah Hartenstein in a deal. They could offer one of the prospects in the deal but the Wizards do not have much leverage.
In terms of picks, they could offer the 2025 Bucks first-round pick (lightly protected), the Mavs 2024 first-round pick (top-10 protected), and another first-round pick of their own (that is protected) to get the deal done.
Does a Bradley Beal trade make sense for the New York Knicks and Washington Wizards?
For the Wizards, this is probably the best offer that they will get outside of the Miami Heat. Washington doesn’t have a lot of leverage in any deal due to Beal’s enormous contract and his no-trade clause. The Knicks could offer a deal that would allow the Wizards to not take any long-term contracts back.
This would also have Fournier’s expiring contract to play with at the deadline next season which could end up being useful. Even if the Knicks aren’t able to get a deal done before Rose’s team option is accepted, they could use Obi Toppin or Immanuel Quickley’s instead as a part of the trade. They could use minimum contracts to get within the matching requirements if they have to use one of the young players.
The Knicks would be deep in the tax and would have to pay the penalties for that. They certainly have the flexibility to withstand the penalties due to the fact that they can still shop R.J. Barrett around the league for draft assets or cheaper contracts.
It would be speeding up the timeline a bit, but it makes sense for the Knicks to make this move. New York is either forced to lose one or two of these young players (Toppin or Quickley) or have to pay them a bad contract. Yes, these players are fun on a rookie contract but once they get off their rookie contracts, Quickley’s lack of play-making and Toppin’s lack of own offensive creation will become increasingly more obvious.
The only downside of this would be the fact that the Knicks are in a very good spot. Beal will be the least attractive of the stars that are available in trades in the next 12 months. While the Knicks have the flexibility to wait this out for the perfect move, this is something that the front office should consider.