New York Knicks Showing Trade Interest in Intriguing Center

Nick Richards, Walker Kessler, New York Knicks, NBA Rumors
Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 NBA offseason has been an eventful one for the New York Knicks. The positives have outweighed the negatives as they look to build upon their very successful 2023-24 campaign.

The first big move the team made was acquiring Mikal Bridges in a blockbuster from the Brooklyn Nets. After that, it was announced that they agreed to a deal to re-sign two-way forward OG Anunoby.

During the 2024 NBA Draft, Leon Rose was wheeling and dealing. They saved every penny they could so that they would have the opportunity to re-sign center Isaiah Hartenstein. Unfortunately, it was not in the cards.

In their first loss of the 2024 offseason, the New York Knicks saw the Oklahoma City Thunder poach Hartenstein. It was not an easy decision to leave, but the Thunder presented him with an offer he couldn’t refuse.

He agreed to a three-year, $87 million deal. The most the Knicks could offer was four years and $72.5 million. It certainly wasn’t from a lack of trying, but New York now has a huge void to fill at the center spot.

With the free agent pool quickly drying up, New York’s options are limited. But, always with a plan in place, it has been revealed that Rose could look to the trade market to replace Hartenstein.

According to Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype, the New York Knicks have inquired to the Utah Jazz about Walker Kessler. Along with Kessler, they have also shown interest in Nick Richards of the Charlotte Hornets.

“The Knicks have also made inquiries on the trade market, showing interest in Jazz center Walker Kessler, league sources told HoopsHype, along with Hornets center Nick Richards, as previously reported by HoopsHype,” Scotto wrote.

Both players would be intriguing fits alongside Mitchell Robinson and Jericho Sims on the team’s depth chart at center. Tom Thibodeau has done a great job throughout his career developing big men, and there is a lot to like about both.

Kessler, a first-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, has been a shot-blocking machine as a pro. He is averaging 2.4 per game despite averaging only 23.3 minutes.

Richards, a second-round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, is coming off his best season as a pro. He averaged 9.7 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 26.3 minutes per game with the Charlotte Hornets.

Most importantly, both players are affordable. Kessler is owed less than $8 million combined over the next two seasons, while Richards is owed $10 million. Given the new CBA teams are operating under, finding affordable production is paramount for a team facing a hard cap as New York likely will be.

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