In the Knicks’ endless pursuit for a legitimate, established starting point, the sights are set on Cleveland Cavaliers youngster, Collin Sexton.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Tuesday morning that the Knicks are “the most aggressive trade suitor” for the 22-year-old, who was selected eighth overall in the 2018 NBA Draft — just one pick before New York went with Kevin Knox at No. 9.
The sting of losing out on Sexton has likely worsened over the years, especially with the Alabama product putting a career year together, posting bests of 24.3 points and 4.4 assists per game this season.
There isn’t necessarily a pressing need for the Cavaliers to trade Sexton. He has one year left remaining on his rookie deal and is under team control the following campaign as a restricted free agent. It allows Cleveland a bit more time to piece together a team that could be more of a playoff contender after going 22-50 in 2020-21.
But aggression from the Knicks could at least pique Cleveland’s interest considering just how much they have to offer. The Knicks could have as many as five first-round draft picks over the next three seasons that they could use to sweeten the pot for the Cavaliers along with the promise of taking the last two years of Kevin Love’s four-year, $120.4 million contract.
New York certainly has the cap space to take on a bad contract, especially if it means picking up their point guard of the future.
It would also create a fine young core and an even more appealing starting five that could see this year’s rookie sensation, Immanuel Quickley, flexed to the shooting guard role. The Knicks could then shift RJ Barrett to the 3 spot full-time while Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson round out the lineup.
Four of those five starters would be 23 years old or younger — Randle being the elder statesman at 26 while being backed up by a five-time All-Star in Love, who averaged 12.2 points in 24.9 minutes per game this season.