Knicks Solidified Their Status as Contenders With Two Offseason Moves (2024)

Highlights

  • The Knicks acquired Mikal Bridges and re-signed OG Anunoby, boosting their defensive capabilities.
  • Julius Randle's return strengthens the potential starting lineup for the 2024-25 season.
  • New York's in-house additions and potential upgrades at center position could lead to their first championship since 1973.

It has been a very long time since the New York Knicks and their fans have had it this good. When was the last time that one could say that the Knicks had serious championship aspirations heading into a season?

Considering how disappointing the Carmelo Anthony era was in New York, one would likely have to look back several decades to find the last time the Knicks were taken seriously as a title threat. However, that should be the case in the 2024-25 NBA season.

The Knicks have gotten off to a tremendous start during this offseason, not being content with simply being competitive. They are in it to win it. The team may still have a few more moves in store before all is said and done, but even as things currently stand, there will be a lot of bets placed on the Knicks to win the NBA championship in the upcoming season.

New York found themselves knocked out of the NBA Playoffs in the second round in this past 2023-24 season. They lost in a tight seven-game series to the Indiana Pacers . The team's undoing had more to do with injuries than the actual on-court product.

No one would have blamed the Knicks for standing pat and waiting in the hopes of a healthy roster. However, Leon Rose and company were not going to sit on their hands and let the opportunity to win pass them by.

The Blockbuster Trade Of The NBA Offseason

The Knicks went all-in, acquiring Mikal Bridges

Knicks Solidified Their Status as Contenders With Two Offseason Moves (3)

There was a point where all the rumor mill had to report on the Brooklyn Nets was just how stubborn they were about holding on to Mikal Bridges . It seemed like a team could move heaven and earth in an attempt to acquire Bridges and the Nets would still pass on the offer. However, the Knicks were the ones to finally get it done.

The Knicks and Nets came to terms on a deal for Bridges centered around Bojan Bogdanovic and a haul of draft capital. Adrian Wojnarowski had the initial scoop.

It was later reported that a Shake Milton sign-and-trade was also going to be a part of the Bridges deal. The final trade details are as follows.

The Knicks had to pay a considerable price to acquire Bridges. This should not come as a surprise considering how in demand he was and the reported reluctance the Nets had in moving him. However, once the dust settled, the Villanova Knicks were complete.

There is something slightly comical about Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau receiving the NBA's resident ironman, given his reputation for running his players into the ground. Bridges' streak is at 474 games. If anyone could survive Thibodeau's taxing minutes, it would be him.

Mikal Bridges – 2023-24 Stats

PPG

19.6

RPG

4.5

APG

3.6

SPG

1.0

FG%

43.6

3P%

37.2

The Knicks had both a top-ten offensive and defensive rating this past season. Bridges' excellent perimeter defense and effortless complimentary scoring should be a massive boost to the roster.

Bringing Back OG Anunoby

This was the move that signaled to the world just how serious the Knicks were

Knicks Solidified Their Status as Contenders With Two Offseason Moves (5)

Some may have thought that the trade for Bridges indicated that the Knicks would not be bringing back OG Anunoby in free agency. Those people would have been wrong.

The Knicks did not spare any expenses when they brought back Anunoby on his new, lucrative deal worth close to $212.5 million over five years. They gave up a lot to acquire Anunoby, trading RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to the Toronto Raptors last season. Losing him for nothing would have been a bad look for the team.

OG Anunoby – 2023-24 Stats with the Knicks

PPG

14.1

RPG

4.4

SPG

1.7

BPG

1.0

FG%

48.8

3P%

39.4

Instead, paying Anunoby has opened the door for the Knicks to be one of the scariest teams in the league on the defensive end next season. There is a good argument to be made that no other team in the league has a defensive pairing on the wings quite as good as Anunoby and Bridges.

Bridges and Anunoby will also both provide two of the best low-maintenance offensive players in the league. Both players are incredibly capable as off-ball weapons, positioning themselves for scoring opportunities without needing the ball in their hands.

The concerns around Anunoby's health will not go away any time soon. However, if the Knicks can get a bit of luck in that regard, they should be primed for contention in the upcoming season.

The In-House Additions

New York will await the highly-anticipated return of Julius Randle

Knicks Solidified Their Status as Contenders With Two Offseason Moves (7)

The Knicks managed to be as successful as they were down the stretch last season despite losing Julius Randle to a season-ending injury. His return to the lineup makes the potential starting unit of the Knicks look dangerous.

Knicks' Potential Lineup for 2024-25

PG

Jalen Brunson

SG

Mikal Bridges

SF

OG Anunoby

PF

Julius Randle

C

Mitchell Robinson*

It should be important to note that Mitchell Robinson is being floated in reported trade rumors. Perhaps he is not around with the Knicks to start next season. However, that could mean the Knicks would upgrade at the center position.

With talented players like Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo ready to contribute off the bench for the Knicks, any moves they make from here will only strengthen their already-existing case to be serious championship contenders. Tyler Kolek , the 34th overall pick in the NBA Draft , is also worth monitoring as a potential day-one contributor for New York.

2025 could be the first time since 1973 that the Knicks sit atop the basketball world.

Stats are courtesy of Basketball Reference.

Related

Why Nets’ Massive Draft-Pick Haul From Knicks for Bridges Is Less Important Than It Seems

Despite adding a crucial piece for title contention, concerns have been raised about the huge package of draft picks New York has parted ways with.

  • Basketball
  • New York Knicks
  • NBA

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Knicks Solidified Their Status as Contenders With Two Offseason Moves (2024)
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