In a lengthy piece detailing the New York Knicks’ latest front office debacle, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst revealed that the team pulled back on their pursuit of Anthony Davis over concerns that a deal would’ve “undercut their long-range plan.”
“Unlike other major stars recently, Davis had expressed interest in playing for the Knicks,” Windhorst writes. “But Mills and Perry told people they were turned off by the Pelicans’ high asking price of multiple first-round picks plus multiple young players, even though the Knicks had that type of package thanks to their Porzingis trade. They said it would have undercut their long-range plan of building through the draft and developing picks into stars.”
If you were Mills and Perry, you could either bet the farm on Davis with a supporting cast patched together on the fly after gutting the entire roster. Or you could stay pat and keep your current group of promising young players while also “building through the draft and developing picks into stars.”
It could be argued that by acquiring Davis, you now have a top-tier talent that can be built around. But how competitive can a team be if their superstar player doesn’t have a somewhat decent group of teammates?
One of the biggest criticisms of the Pelicans during the AD era was that they never put a good enough supporting cast around him. If the Knicks were to pull the trigger on a deal for Davis, wouldn’t history just be repeating itself?
Despite giving up a boatload of players and picks to get Davis, the Los Angeles Lakers could afford to take this chance because they would still have Kyle Kuzma and the “Washed King” himself, LeBron James. The Knicks wouldn’t be so lucky.
Then again, the Lakers were able to put themselves in that position to take a big swing for AD because of their years of futility. They haven’t finished with an above .500 record since the 2012-13 season.
The Knicks need to focus on a full rebuild. It’s going to take time and will come with some tough decisions, such as passing on someone as talented as Davis for the sake of your future.