According to a source, if Cavaliers point guard Collin Sexton had fallen to ninth in the NBA Draft in 2018, the Knicks would have taken him over Kevin Knox.
They weren’t as fortunate, as Cleveland selected Sexton at No. 8 overall. But the Knicks may get another shot at the speedy Sexton.
The Athletic reported on Monday that the Cavaliers have made Sexton “very available” in a trade. Sexton is on the Knicks’ trade radar as they try to shore up the starting point guard position, according to a source, and he could be dealt during the 2021 NBA Draft on July 29.
According to The Athletic, the Knicks have been “most aggressive” in their pursuit of Sexton, who is due a rookie contract extension by the end of October. The total cost of the extension could be $168 million over five years.
According to a source, the Knicks are open to trading out of the first round in exchange for an established player on draft night. They have the 19th and 21st picks, respectively, and are one of the few teams with cap space before free agency begins on Aug. 2. In the second round, they also have picks 32 and 58.
CAA, the agency that Knicks president Leon Rose ran until last season, represents Sexton.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers have another young point guard in the form of Darius Garland, who was drafted in 2019. The Garland-Sexton duo’s chemistry has been serviceable, but they haven’t led Cleveland to the playoffs in the last two seasons.
Scott Perry, the Knicks’ general manager, oversaw the 2018 draft, and the team worked out Sexton in a one-on-one workout in Tarrytown. Last season, Sexton averaged 24.3 points and 4.4 assists per game while shooting 37.1 percent from three-point range.
With Elfrid Payton, Derrick Rose, and Frank Ntilikina all free agents, the Knicks are desperate for a starting point guard. Only Rose has a chance to return, but only as a backup after his knee couldn’t handle all the minutes in the Hawks’ final two playoff games.
Rose’s Early-Bird rights give the Knicks the ability to go over the salary cap to re-sign him, but only if the offer is $10.6 million or less. If the Knicks accept a higher offer, the contract will eat into their salary cap space, which is something they’d rather avoid.
Damian Lillard in a trade and Chris Paul as a free agent are two other star options the Knicks have discussed. However, Lillard’s decision on his future could come late in the offseason. And Paul is a long shot to leave the Suns, with both the player and the team on the verge of their first NBA championship.
Lonzo Ball, a restricted free agent, lacks Sexton’s offensive firepower and speed, and is viewed as more of a playmaker. Sexton is also 22 years old.