The New York Knicks enter the 2021 NBA offseason with more than $60 million in cap space and a wealth of draft capital to pull off a blockbuster trade. With the franchise badly needing a top point guard, one marquee player firmly has Madison Square Garden on his radar.
New York will have plenty of options to choose from this summer, via the 2021 NBA Draft, free agency and the trade market. Kemba Walker could be on the move and would love to return to MSG. Meanwhile, the Damian Lillard trade rumors won’t go away, and the franchise could move up for one of the top guards in this year’s draft class.
But the likeliest path for the Knicks to land a top point guard is through free agency. Plenty of teams will be interested, given the contract offers New York can make and the opportunities it offers to marquee names. But it seems one in particular could already be emerging.
According to the New York Post‘s Marc Berman, the Knicks are on Lonzo Ball’s radar, and his father, LaVar Ball, reportedly wants his sons playing under the spotlight in New York.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about Ball’s desire to play at Madison Square Garden, with rumors surfacing in March that he was already eyeing the Knicks months before free agency.
Of course, signing Ball is easier said than done. The New Orleans Pelicans have the right to match any offer he receives, and Berman notes that multiple reports suggest Zion Williamson wants him to return. Given the Pelicans are building a team around Williamson, retaining Ball would seem to be a priority.
But Ball’s asking price might force New Orleans to consider a sign-and-trade or even letting him walk. While only a few teams will have a ton of money to spend this summer, Ball could still land a contract worth $20 million-plus annually.
The 23-year-old guard would be a great facilitator for the New York Knicks, finding open shots for Julius Randle and RJ Barrett. Ball has also improved as a shooter, hitting 41.4% of his shots this past season and shooting a career-best 37.8% from beyond the card.
New York will likely spend several weeks evaluating its options, hoping Lillard demands a trade. If that doesn’t happen, Ball could be atop the Knicks’ wishlist.