The NBA offseason will be a time for teams to fully commit to a timeline for their franchise. The New York Knicks have exceeded expectations and will aim to become a perennial playoff team. Meanwhile, the Oklahoma City Thunder have been progressing towards a full rebuild. Could both sides benefit from a Shai Gilgeous-Alexander trade?
The Knicks are one of the most improved teams in the league this season and they are expected to be one of the most active teams this upcoming offseason in an effort to get even better. New York has preserved a significant amount of salary cap spending room and gained additional assets from the Kristaps Porzingis trade that could be used to make a big move.
Oklahoma City, on the flip side, are one of the worst teams in the NBA and will surely embark on a rebuild in an effort to be good in the future. The Thunder view Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as part of their long-term rebuild efforts, but could it actually be best for them to capitalize his trade value to jumpstart the situation?
If there is a position the Knicks could benefit from bolstering in a major way, it would be the point guard spot. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would provide a dynamic element to their half-court offense while bringing a valuable presence to their defense.
A trade between these two teams could catch a lot of people off guard, but we’ve seen many great trades go down in the league’s history between a great team and a sub-par squad. A deal between these two teams could help each side build for the future, while also investing in their current roster as well.
Let’s take a look at what a deal between these two teams could look like.
New York Knicks Receive: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Oklahoma City Thunder Receives: Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley, 2021 1st Round Pick, 2021 1st Round Pick (via DAL), 2023 1st Round Pick
The Oklahoma City Thunder have seen many intriguing flashes of potential from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander turn to actual consistent results on the hardwood. Moving on from him would be exceptionally challenging to do. A 22-year-old guard that stands at 6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan who is consistently getting better is not someone to be expected on the NBA trade block.
The Thunder would benefit from adding even more draft choices and would be able to fully commit to a long-term building approach by reducing their ability to exceed immediate expectations year after year. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, when healthy, is too talented to allow his team to tank. Even if it doesn’t involve SGA, the Thunder will be a team to watch in NBA trade rumors.
The New York Knicks would benefit from getting a franchise point guard to stabilize their starting five. Already having an elite defense, if not the best, adding Gilgeous-Alexander at the one spot would further improve what this team has been building on that front.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a very talented, dual-threat guard for the Thunder and landing him in a trade this offseason won’t be easy. He provides significant value to any team and the Knicks will need to reflect that in any trade proposal that is made in an effort to land him.
This trade gives both sides exactly what they’re looking for in terms of talent, and it’s a very fair deal between two competitive rosters. Let’s take a look at how this trade directly impacts each team directly.
Why This Trade Makes Sense For The New York Knicks
The bottom line is this scenario enables the New York Knicks to land a star talent to complement the talents of RJ Barrett and Julius Randle. Both players have shown real improvement in the 2020-21 NBA season and have plenty of more potential to tap into going forward.
Sure, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s contract is set to expire following next season, but the fact that the Knicks would have first dibs on being able to give him an extension could make this trade worthwhile. New York is a team that has been unable to land star players in NBA free agency, so making an aggressive trade to get it done would go a long way.
The Knicks would be giving up quite a bit to land the services of a 22 year old point guard, but it would be completely worth it. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is one of the best guards that the Thunder have had in recent years and he could be a great addition to the New York Knicks.
A trio of Gilgeous-Alexander, RJ Barrett, and Julius Randle would be a force to be reckoned with. The Eastern Conference has some loaded teams with superstar talent, but the Knicks would be able to compete at a high-level for many years to come regardless of that fact.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, this season, is averaging 23.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 5.9 assists for the Thunder while shooting 50.8 percent from the floor and 41.8 percent from beyond the arc. This would be a blockbuster move for the New York Knicks.
Why This Trade Makes Sense For The Oklahoma City Thunder
There isn’t a direct need to move on from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander whatsoever. He’s been a tremendous addition for the Oklahoma City Thunder from the Paul George trade. Again, he’s only 22-years-old and still has a lot of potential left to tap into as an NBA player.
Yes, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a great young player and is more than worthy of a maximum salary on his next contract, but his trade value could help the Thunder to go ‘all-in’ on a long-term rebuild. It’s not easy to tank for the No. 1 pick if you’re winning enough games to have strong odds to land it.
The Thunder, like it or not, are going to be embarking on a rebuild this offseason. One of the main things that happens during a rebuild is the trading of star players and the addition of young talent and draft picks. This trade gives the Thunder a perfect combination of draft picks and good talent.
The pair of Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley is a very nice compensation of good young talent for the Thunder to develop and the draft picks they would be receiving in return would add some top tier talent as well. Oklahoma City Thunder could allow those two prospects to put up big numbers in large roles and then flip them for more draft picks.
At some point, they will have so many selections they can make robust trade offers to land elite prospects they want to take and build around. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander may be a high-level young player but he isn’t a transcendent talent.