Yes, you read the right sports’ fans. Vlade Divac is proving his love affair with former UK players by engaging in talks with the Knicks for former (but not really since he was ruled ineligible) UK basketball player Enes Kanter. Who would he be sending over you may ask? Former All-Star Zach Randolph. Now, if you were the Knicks, I do not know why you would be trading $18.6 mil of dead salary (since he wipes off the books next year) for just $11.7 mil of dead salary. So what does that mean?
Based off of looking at the composition of the teams and the money that needs to be cleared, I believe that the best possible trade would be something like this…
Kings Receive – C Enes Kanter (1 yr/$18.8 mil), PF/C Luke Kornet (1 yr/$1.6 mil)
Knicks Receive – PF/C Zach Randolph (1 yr/$11.7 mil), C Kosta Koufos (1 yr/$8.7 mil) + draft pick(s)
Again, this is one I came up with immediately upon hearing the trade rumors. However, after much thought, I completely thought of a different one that, for the scope of the Knicks FA plans, makes amazing sense for both teams…
Kings Receive – C Enes Kanter (1 yr/$18.8 mil), SG/SF Tim Hardaway, Jr. + draft compensation
Knicks Receive – PF/C Zach Randolph (1 yr/$11.7 mil), C Kosta Koufos (1 yr/$8.7 mil), SG Iman Shumpert (1 yr/$11 mil)
So, this one should be somewhat logical in its thought process. The money essesntially matches, with the Kings receiving slightly more not only in the first year, but also the additional years in Tim Hardaway, Jr.’s contract. However, the biggest difference between the Kings and Knicks is that the Kings DO NOT have a pick in the top heavy 2019 draft class. They hypothetically could, but it is super unlikely that this will occur. So, keeping in mind that the Kings wish to build through the draft whereas the Knicks have essentially announced to the world that they will be “big players in the 2019 FA market.”
Now, I do not know the protections said pick will receive. I also do not know if the Knicks will be fully on board with going into this cap space sell-out mode. Also, this will hurt the Kings since the players they are acquiring are infinitely better than the ones they are trading for. Hopefully though, they both can agree. I would take the trade if I was both teams.
Knicks could finally waive Luke Kornet, and could stretch Courtney Lee’s contract in the offseason to make more space (would free up an additional $9 mil in the FA). Knicks could walk into 2019 FA with a little under $67 mil under the cap. Enough to pursue 2 All-Stars (cough cough KD).
Kings, on the other hand, add meaningful wing depth in Tim Hardaway, Jr. They also free up a roster spot for another money dump trade, which they seem to be all for. On top of this, they also free up center and guard minutes for their promising young players, and can thoroughly make a promising run at the 8th seed in the playoffs. They also get that coveted Knicks pick (projected at #3 currently based on records) to build their team for the future. Of course, the Knicks may not wish to use a draft pick this year, and may send a 2020 first instead. That would be just as good, if not better, for the Kings. After all, they are a good wing away from being one of the best young teams in the NBA.