With Leon Rose in control now in New York the rumors have begun on who the Knicks will go after this summer to fill the Head Coaching
Vacancy which Mike Miller might not be able to retain unless he magically gets the Knicks in the Playoffs this season. I don’t know why I am thinking about LeBron James’s player option the Summer of 2021 and the thought of LeBron possibly coming to the Knicks to play out the last year of his deal with Chris Paul in New York. Maybe it won’t happen, maybe LeBron James opts in for the last year out of respect for Kobe Bryant and looks to break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s scoring record in a Laker uniform. Assuming the Knicks do trade for Chris Paul, almost certainly I’ll assume RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson are off-limits and I’d consider Kevin Knox off-limits as well but knowing the Knicks they might give up on the kid and trade him to OKC.
So if the Knicks do trade for Chris Paul who becomes the coach? Tom Thibodeau? I don’t see Tom Thibodeau and Chris Paul being a good fit, I would love to see Mark Jackson coach the Knicks with Chris Paul quarterbacking the offense, not sure how Mark Jackson’s religious views will effect his chances of coaching again but if the Knicks are going to invest in Chris Paul you definitely want to hire a Coach he can see eye to eye with, not like it was on the Houston Rockets were the relationship between Harden and Paul grew sour and Mike D’Antoni couldn’t manage to get them both on the same page to pull through last year in the Semi-Finals. I’ve been watching RJ Barrett and I respected him for taking on the challenge of playing for the Knicks and welcoming the pressure and expectations maybe Kristaps Porzingis was not able to carry in his short tenure there. Chris Paul has done a great job of mentoring Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who is very similar to Chris Paul since both are marvelous all-around guards that can play both sides of the ball and have a pass first mentality.
I kid you not the last time I watched an exciting playoff game was when Chris Paul scored 21 points in Game 5 of 2018 Western Conference Finals, I wanted to see the Golden State Warriors lose so bad and going into that series despite everyone picking the Golden State Warriors to win I had the Rockets winning in 6 which unfortunately did not happen. Although Chris Paul only scored 21 points that game, every basket and pass he made was electrifying. No one on the Warriors could stay in front of Chris Paul, he was picking apart their defense and was playing the passing lanes like a mad man. I still recall the 3 pointer when he was shaking and baking Curry and hit a bomb and came down the court dancing in Curry’s face. It was sweet to watch Curry get a taste of his own medicine and see Klay and Durant rattled but unfortunately Chris Paul missed the last 2 games and the Warriors made the comeback to win the series.
Assuming the Knicks trade for Chris Paul the Knicks will be guaranteed to make the playoffs next season for the first time in 7-8 years since the Carmelo Anthony era. RJ Barrett is figuring it out and with a full off-season of training RJ Barrett will have the potential to become an All-Star next season. People say RJ is lie Harden since he is a lefty and around the same height, RJ is about about an inch taller and I believe will be a better defender than Harden ever will be. Their games are different, RJ Barrett coming into the NBA was never projected to be an elite 3 point-shooter and I don’t think he ever will be one like James Harden who is arguably the best perimeter scorer the NBA has ever seen as he combines elite ball-handling with lightning quick step-back moves which make him an absolutely impossible cover. I believe RJ Barrett has the will to be great and he will deliver a Title to the Knicks during this decade, maybe not now but it is coming.
Automatically Mitchell Robinson immediately becomes better with Chris Paul out there. Chris Paul can throw just about any pass possible and even at this point in his career can still defend at a high level. Playing alongside RJ Barrett he won’t have to worry about taking the tougher assignment most nights, RJ Barrett has all the legs to help Chris Paul remain fresh through a game and save his legs. If Frank Ntilikina does not mind coming off the bench I would keep him since he has great size for a guard and insanely long-arms to help play the passing lanes. The real question should be, does Chris Paul want to play in New York? With the money he is making I would not be complaining about much, Knicks fans will only despise Chris Paul if he fails to get them into the Playoffs next season.
So should the Knicks trade for Chris Paul? Absolutely, if the plan is for LeBron James to come over next summer sure. I would love to see a lineup of Chris Paul,RJ Barrett,LeBron James,Julius Randle,and Mitchell Robinson. Could that win a Title? I believe so, by the end of next season I think we will be arguing if RJ Barrett has been the best Knick since Latrell Sprewell,Allan Houston, and Carmelo Anthony. RJ Barrett,Cam Reddish, and Zion Williamson were the 3 main stars of the Duke Blue Devils and to me it was no question Cam Reddish was the 3rd option of the 3 but to me I could never really tell if Zion Williamson or RJ Barrett was the 1st option of the team. I believe Reddish,Barrett,and Williamson will all be All-Stars in the NBA but RJ has that it factor I think Zion and Reddish have to develop at the moment. Again if the Knicks are going to trade for Chris Paul they have to make the Playoffs next season and convince LeBron James that him coming to New York could put them over the top.
To conclude I know it is all pre-mature but if the Knicks want to win a Title within the next 4-5 years they should aim at becoming the most attractive destination possible for LeBron James. Chris Paul and LeBron James are both pass-first players at heart and by the end of next season I don’t think LeBron James would mind taking a back-seat to a player like RJ Barrett. The NBA is where it is at the moment because the Knicks are not relevant because boy I remember growing up in the early 2000’s the hype behind the Knicks in the magical run they made 1999. The fame Marcus Camby,Latrell Sprewell, and Allan Houston obtained at the moment was surreal, that was when I fell in love with the game of basketball and I checked in every night to watch the Knicks at 7:30 pm religiously. Give me your thoughts on the possibility of the Knicks bringing Chris Paul over to New York, till next time.