The Knicks and Anthony Davis didn’t move at the deadline.
After completing their blockbuster deal involving Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks decided to roll through the rest of this lost season without any further trades – although buyouts are coming later today for Enes Kanter and Wesley Matthews.
New Orleans, meanwhile, decided to shun offers for Davis and will keep him until at least the summer, meaning the Knicks can still make a play for the superstar in the offseason. Much of their pitch will center on their 2019 first-rounder, and it will be known by then where they landed in the lottery. The Knicks have plenty of draft picks to offer the Pelicans, but won’t be able to match the quality of players that the Celtics, Lakers or Clippers will dangle.
The Knicks can go another route and sign two max contracts (Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving), while saving their own draft pick.
““I think it’s based on where you start,” coach David Fizdale said about the team’s direction. “Everyone’s situation is different. You can look at one team and their situation and where they are starting from is totally different from where we are at. It just so happens that our situation is calling for building through the draft and free agency.”
The Knicks have eight players on expiring contracts – Kanter, Matthews, Noah Vonleh, Luke Kornet, Emmanuel Mudiay, Mario Hezonja, DeAndre Jordan, Lance Thomas – and made all them available since the season is already lost. Vonleh, who is on a minimum deal, had the greatest chance of recouping an asset like a second-round pick, but the Knicks didn’t find a suitable deal.
The Knicks’ season-long attempt to trade Kanter was also unsuccessful, but he was excused from practice Thursday and his Knicks career is over with the pending buyout.
“It was definitely a tough spot for Enes,” Fizdale said. “I’ve been saying that from the beginning. Anytime you’ve got a guy who can do what Enes on the court and you have to go in another direction for the betterment of the organization, that’s always a tough spot for a guy.”