The Knicks may not be the favorites to land Pelicans center Anthony Davis, but they may have the best deal to offer.
Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher writes that an informal poll of NBA executives and scouts believe that a Knicks package centering around Kristaps Porzingis would be superior than anything the Lakers could offer.
A Western Conference GM says that the performance of the Lakers since LeBron James has gone down with a groin injury has hurt the value of some of their younger players.
The Lakers are 5-10 since James has been out.
Any deal involving Porzingis, however, would have to be done by the Feb. 7 trade deadline because he is set to become a restricted free agent once the season ends.
While Porzingis may be a more attractive option than the Lakers' young core, sources tell Bucher there are still concerns regarding the 23-year-old forward, with one source saying that Porzingis is only "75 percent of the way back to playing" in his recovery from an ACL tear last February.
Opposing executives and scouts also wonder if Porzingis, who has battled other injuries before tearing his ACL, is physically capable of being the Knicks' franchise cornerstone.
One scout tells Bucher that Porzingis is similar to Davis but cannot stay healthy and has "done nothing and annointed a star."
A source tells Bucher that Knicks head coach David Fizdale is spending as much time as he can with the 7-foot-3 All-Star, who has been participating in individual basketball-related workouts with the coaching staff.
Meanwhile, GM Scott Perry and team president Steve Mills are attempting to forge a better relationship with Porzingis' brother, Janis, who now represents him.
However, it has been difficult to get a read on Janis' feelings about his brother's future in New York.
If Porzingis is unhappy, any team that wants to sign him will have to give him the max deal, but small-market GMs may be reluctant to do that.
"If he isn't happy in New York, what are the chances he's going to be happy in Portland or Indiana or San Antonio," one GM said.
If the Knicks do not trade Porzingis at the deadline, it is likely that they will try to re-sign him or match any other offer he receives.