3 Big Question Marks in Brooklyn and the Mecca

by John Pagnotta | Jun 19, 2024 | General | 0 comments

Photo Credit: forbes.com
The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets came into the 2023-24 NBA season with different goals. The Knicks were coming off a solid 2023 playoff run, only being 2 games away from the Eastern Conference Finals, and believed that they were ready to take the next step. Meanwhile, the Nets were coming off a 45-37 season in which they got swept in the first round against the 76ers. Brooklyn was looking to make a similar run in 2024, as they had Mikal Bridges, Cam Thomas, Nic Claxton, and lots of depth. However, both teams ended up being polar opposites, as the Knicks went 50-32 to clinch the #2 seed in the East, and the Nets went 32-50 to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2018. With that being said, both of these teams have several questions to answer…

Knicks

Q: Should the Knicks trade for a superstar in the offseason or at the deadline?
The Knicks have built a tremendous amount of draft capital over the last couple of seasons, thanks to Leon Rose’s trades. The Knicks have 2 first rounders this season (#24 and #25), and next season! Tom Thibodeau’s hesitance to play his rookies in the past (Obi Toppin) gives the Knicks an idea of what would happen if they kept their picks. This gives the front office several options: They could trade both picks or one pick in the offseason, or wait until the deadline. If I was Leon Rose, I would strike now when the iron is hot instead of at the deadline. If the Knicks are struggling around February (due to injuries or other factors), they’d look pretty dumb for not attempting trades in the offseason. Some superstars they should (at least) inquire about are Giannis Antetokounmpo, Devin Booker, KAT, Donovan Mitchell, James Harden, Demar DeRozan, and Joel Embiid.

Photo Credit: Heavy.com
Q: Is OG Anunoby worth $35M AAV to take the team to the next level?
This is a topic that has divided Knicks fans, as they believe Anunoby earning $35M a season is insane. And honestly, it sounds pretty insane for a guy that isn’t viewed as a “superstar”, has never played over 70 games, and has never averaged over 18 PPG. Anunoby’s individual stats with the Knicks didn’t look special, but he had a massive impact on their play when he was available. The Knicks’ record with OG was 20-3 this season, as he lifted them up from avoiding the play-in to becoming the 2nd seed in the East. The team’s defense, offense, energy, and effort also went up when OG played, which showed in January and against the 76ers. It even showed in the first two games against Indiana, as the Knicks went 1-4 after OG’s injury in Game 2. So, could the Knicks turn to the next level by signing Anunoby for $35M a year? Absolutely. If the Knicks let him get away, it could be a real mistake by Rose.
Photo Credit: nypost.com

Nets

Q: Should the Nets move on from Brooklyn Bridges?
The Nets received Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, and more when they traded Kevin Durant and T.J Warren to the Suns in 2023. Looking back on that trade, Bridges performed admirably for Brooklyn during the rest of that season, as he averaged 26 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 2.7 APG as the clear #1 option. This led to fans giving him the nickname “Brooklyn Bridges”. 2024 was a different story, as Bridges struggled heavily towards the end of the season, which led to his minutes and production decreasing heavily. For example, he averaged 15.7 PPG after January, which was a big contrast from his first 4 months (21.7 PPG). Brooklyn entertained offers around the trade deadline for Bridges, as the team struggled, with the Knicks, Thunder, Lakers, and 76ers, but their asking price was way too high for any teams to actively engage in talks. Trading the star during the offseason wouldn’t be a horrible decision by Sean Marks at all. He didn’t mesh with the offense during the final few months, and the team would get a solid return for him. Even though the Nets are keeping him unavailable so far throughout the offseason, Bridges should be traded BY the 2025 deadline if the team’s struggles continue next season.

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My name is John Pagnotta and I live in Queens, NY. I am a sophomore at Monsignor McClancy Memorial High School. I am a huge fan of the Jets, Mets, Islanders, and Knicks. I started following sports when I was around 7 years old and I have not lost love for it ever since!

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