Connect with us


The Claw in the Garden: Can the Knicks get Kawhi Leonard?

On Friday, news reports surfaced that San Antonio Spurs superstar, Kawhi Leonard, requested a trade. After missing much of the season rehabbing an injury, Leonard concluded that his talents would be best used elsewhere.

While the Los Angeles Lakers have been pegged as the favorite destination, teams around the league are interested in Leonard’s services. Among those teams are the New York Knicks, who are still in rebuild mode. Leonard’s camp has made it clear that they want him in New York, especially since he spent the season in there treating his injury.

While fans may rejoice at the prospect of landing Leonard, it may not be that easy.

The Pedigree

Leonard is perhaps the best two-way player in the NBA. He is a defensive dynamo, consistently in the running for Defensive Player of the Year honors. He has even been known for shutting down elite players, including LeBron James, James Harden, and Kevin Durant. He’s also developed into an elite 3-point shooter as well as deadly from mid-range. Additionally, he has enough athletic prowess to go around you, go over you, or go through you.

In short, Leonard is a problem on both sides of the ball for any team in the league. It’s not hard to imagine why teams would be clamoring for him, including and especially the New York Knicks.

Help Wanted

Going into next season, the Knicks will be short handed due to Kristaps Porzingis’ injury. Eventually, he will be making his return to the Garden in uniform. Until then, though, the Knicks are going to need help. The Knicks still have a few noteworthy names on their roster, such as Enes Kanter and Tim Hardaway Jr., not to mention the upcoming draft. The Knicks have the chance to add a top tier prospect to their arsenal and fill one of their needed positions. However, that prospect will be untested and may not be able to jump start the Knicks’ season in the way that the team needs.

Trading for a player of Leonard’s caliber could make all the difference, though, doing so is not a simple task.

Let’s Make a Deal

The Spurs did not initiate this possible trade situation. If San Antonio does go through with it, they are going to want as many prospective pieces as possible.

New York is teeming with young talent that the team may not be inclined to part with. Additionally, taking on Leonard’s contract would put the Knicks way over the limit as far as cap space is concerned. The team is already over the limit with the luxury tax and adding Leonard may only make matters worse.

The Knicks could waive a few players that don’t have guaranteed contracts. Such a move, though, would probably be minimal at best. The Knicks would, thus, have to make a winning pitch to the Spurs.

New York could offer a packaged deal comprised, of young talent and role players alike. The Knicks would more than likely want to keep Porzingis out of any trade talks, if possible. Still, trading him may be the team’s best chance of landing a star that can attract more talent in 2019. Moreover, with Porzingis missing the beginning of the  season, the Knicks may be tempted to pull the trigger and get readily a available star.

It also cannot be overlooked that crafting a solid deal would be largely impacted by who the Knicks draft in July. A draft night deal would not be out of the question for New York, but it would have to make sense. It suffices to say, therefore, that there are a lot of moving pieces in play when it comes to landing Leonard.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt, Kawhi Leonard is one of the best players in the league. If the Knicks manage to land him, they will instantly be better. Leonard and Porzingis on the same squad would be problematic for most teams. Trading Porzingis for Leonard could also happen, but the Knicks would likely want to hold on to the their young star.

As the sweepstakes for Leonard continues, the Knicks must proceed with caution. Gaining him would be a steal, but without the money, the Knicks may have to offer too much to get a deal done.

The following two tabs change content below.
Andre is the New York Knicks Lead Writer for
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Basketball