The Knicks have lost as many games as they did all of last season (31) with 17 fewer games played during this nightmare of a 2021-22 season.
They’ve won just two of their last 12, including a four-game losing streak that has relegated the start of a five-game west-coast road trip to disastrous status (0-3).
Entrenched toward the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the only thing the Knicks can look forward to is the continued development of RJ Barrett and the NBA Trade Deadline, which comes on Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET.
Naturally, the trade deadline is more of a pressing issue for the Knicks at this time.
New York is open for business as team president Leon Rose comes to terms with the fact that the Knicks’ Cinderella story from last year in which they nabbed the No. 4 seed in the East was nothing more than a flash in the pan.
The improvements made to the roster during the offseason did not work out and now Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier — the Knicks’ two most prominent offseason acquisitions — are the most likely to be dealt away from Madison Square Garden before the 3 p.m. deadline. So is veteran guard Alec Burks, whose three-point shooting prowess could be seen as an attractive bench option for a contending team.
Walker has likely been available for trade since head coach Tom Thibodeau took him out of the rotation in December — providing stark writing on the wall that the veteran guard’s homecoming was going to be short-lived. But his two-year deal paired with a disappointing season in New York won’t make him the easiest to deal.
The same goes for Fournier, who is making $78 million over his four-year deal signed over the summer with the Knicks. It all but caps what the Knicks could get in return.
It appears unlikely that Julius Randle will be traded — mostly because their most likely trade partner in the Sacramento Kings dealt point guard Tyrese Haliburton to the Indiana Pacers, leaving De’Aaron Fox as the lone man to lead the point for them. Fox was a suspected Knicks trade target in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Randle’s value is as low as it’s ever been with the Knicks during his notable regression this season.
If the Knicks are hellbent on moving either Walker or Fournier while maximizing a return, they’ll have to dip into their pool of draft assets that has suddenly become a war chest. They own all of their first and second-round picks along with the Dallas Mavericks 2023 top-10 protected first-rounder. They also possess the 2023 second-round picks of the Charlotte Hornets, Detroit Pistons, Utah Jazz, and the least favorable of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Washington Wizards, Miami Heat, or Mavericks.
The Knicks are looking to bring in a point guard, but the Kings trade threw a wrench in any hopes for Fox. Meanwhile, Mavericks floor general Jalen Brunson is going to be a hot commodity on the market with a career year and expiring contract.
Other potential options include Goran Dragic of the Toronto Raptors, Dennis Schröder of the Boston Celtics, or Spencer Dinwiddie of the Washington Wizards.
Marc Berman of the New York Post also reported that the Knicks have been keeping an eye on forward Harrison Barnes, also of the Kings, as a potential trade target. However, his acquisition would not make much sense considering the Knicks shelled out a first-round draft pick and Kevin Knox for a similar player in Cam Reddish. However, Thibodeau clearly does not favor Reddish given the lack of playing time he’s received.