Any designs the Knicks might have had of forming a superteam with Anthony Davis were destroyed Saturday evening with the news that the Pelicans were dealing the star to the Lakers for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks, including this year's No. 4 overall pick.
So where do the Knicks go from here?
As SNY's Ian Begley has reported, the Knicks plan to aggressively pursue Kawhi Leonard, who just led the Raptors to their first-ever NBA championship and was named NBA Finals MVP.
And some within the Knicks organization want to do the same with Kevin Durant, despite the fact he's set to miss the 2019-20 season after undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles.
The Davis trade likely won't alter the Knicks' plans, but it does remove one star from the equation that could've been used to entice top free agents like Leonard and Durant to sign with the Knicks.
Furthermore, the Knicks may now have more competition for the top free agents. According to ESPN's Bobby Marks, if the Lakers wait until July 30 to finalize the deal instead of doing so on July 6, they'll have $32.5 million in cap space to use on another star. The Lakers could use that space to pursue Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler or Kemba Walker -- whom the New York Times' Marc Stein says will be a top target for the Lakers.
ESPN reported on Sunday, though, that the trade is expected to be completed on July 6. Assuming Davis declined to void his $4M trade bonus, that would leave the Lakers with $23.7M in space -- not enough for a max free agent. ESPN reported that there is chance that could be amended to July 30, which would give Los Angeles enough space for a max contract.
If Los Angeles ends up with enough cap space for a max player, pairing Davis with LeBron James makes the Lakers a far more attractive option for those top free agents, and it's fair to wonder if it could entice Irving to team up with James once again.
Sources told Begley that earlier in the week before the Davis trade, some members of the Lakers organization believed they still had a shot at signing Irving, whom the Knicks are interested in.
As of late this week, Begley reported, teams interested in Irving were under the impression the Nets are the favorites to land Irving.
What about Davis' long-term future? The trade impacts the Knicks' chances at landing Davis as a free agent next summer -- his agent, Rich Paul, recently said Davis will hit the market in 2020. The Lakers, though, have a year to woo Davis, who sources told Begley would've considered re-signing with the Knicks had New York traded for him.
The best-case scenario for the Knicks would've been Boston acquiring Davis and then Davis going to free agency. Sources told Begley the Celtics weren't willing to include Jayson Tatum in a trade for Davis.
SNY previously reported some within the Knicks organization were telling people they didn't want to part with the number of assets New Orleans wanted, and they would've been hard-pressed to match what the Lakers offered without a third team being involved in the deal.