East contender 'showing interest' in Walker Kessler: Report

HoopsHype's Michael Scotto reported that the Knicks have inquired about Walker Kessler, but would the Jazz really help them?
Dallas Mavericks v Utah Jazz
Dallas Mavericks v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages

It remains to be seen whether the Utah Jazz will actually follow through on trading Walker Kessler. However, teams have expressed their interest in acquiring the Jazz's rim protector.

HoopsHype's Michael Scotto reported that the Knicks have interest in acquiring Kessler from the Jazz.

"The Knicks have also made inquiries on the trade market, showing interest in Jazz center Walker Kessler, league sources told HoopsHype," Scotto wrote in a

Scotto added further details on Kessler's availability.

"There’s a belief from rival executives that Utah would listen to trade calls for Kessler, whereas last year, the sense was he was not for sale. "

This is not breaking news, as Yahoo Sports! Jake Fischer was the first to break that the Jazz might be willing to discuss Kessler in trade discussions in a June 21 story.

"There appears to be a wide range of starting-caliber big men available for trade... Rival teams believe Utah is willing to engage in trade talks that would part ways with Jazz second-year center Walker Kessler."

So it comes as no surprise that the Knicks have been linked to him. More than that, it's not a surprise that the Knicks have asked about him after losing Isaiah Hartenstein to the Thunder. Kessler is not only a rim protector but will be 23 in a few weeks and has two years left on his rookie contract.

On paper, he's the perfect project, and at worst, he's their backup center. As far Hartenstein replacements go, Kessler couldn't be more ideal for the Knicks.

What would the Jazz want from the Knicks for Walker Kessler?

The Knicks already gave up the farm and then some for Mikal Bridges, leaving them pretty desolate when it comes to assets to exchange. Even if the Jazz are willing to discuss Kessler, they are not dumping him just because he's coming off a sophomore slump.

So how could they agree to a deal? Not having many draft assets is typically a dealbreaker, but there is one ace in the hole that the Knicks could offer - relieving the Jazz of having to pay John Collins.

Calling Collins' contract an albatross is beating a dead horse with another dead horse at this point. But where this could work for the Knicks is that, following the addition of Bridges, suddenly Julius Randle's role comes into question as the Knicks' frontcourt is suddently blogged with Bridges, Rande, and OG Anunoby.

Nothing has been reported yet, but it would not be surprising if the Knicks' offseason moves make Randle more expendable. If he is, the Knicks might be willing to trade him for Kessler, and as a way of helping the Jazz, taking Collins with him.

Randle has his warts, but he has trade value whereas Collins does not. The Jazz could repackage Randle for more assets while getting Collins off their books. Would that all be worth it knowing that they'd give up Kessler in the process? It all depends on how the Jazz's front office views Kessler's potential.