Anthony Davis was a star player who had interest in going to the New York Knicks, but the team did not pull off a trade for the big man and instead, Davis was dealt to the Lakers over the summer.
The Knicks had the worst record in the NBA last season and are off to one of the worst starts in the league this season. Having Davis would have helped their outlook for this season, but they felt trying to acquire him in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans would have been too costly, according to a report.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst wrote a long article published on Thursday that is a timeline of the Knicks’ failures over the past two years. In the article, Windhorst said the Knicks’ front office was deterred by the Pelicans’ hefty asking price.
Unlike other major stars recently, Davis had expressed interest in playing for the Knicks. But Mills and Perry told people they were turned off by the Pelicans’ high asking price of multiple first-round picks plus multiple young players, even though the Knicks had that type of package thanks to their Porzingis trade. They said it would have undercut their long-range plan of building through the draft and developing picks into stars.
Some have already twisted this nugget into headlines clowning the Knicks and are mocking them, but I believe their thinking was smart in this case. Yes, we had no shortage of articles stating that Davis had interest in the Knicks. However, we knew he also wanted to play for the Lakers. Davis was a free agent after 2020, so the Knicks would have only been assured of having Davis short-term.
Can you imagine if the Knicks traded multiple future first-round picks only to see him leave before long, or go to the Lakers? Plus, at the time, the Knicks also believed they would land Kevin Durant and/or Kyrie Irving in free agency.
Things did not work out, but the Knicks identified a rebuilding plan and stuck to it. Given the risk involved in giving up so many assets and seeing Davis leave, it’s hard to blame them for being hesitant.