Knicks Trade Rumors: 5 players to keep an eye on

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Alex Caruso could be a Knicks trade deadline target
Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso (6) goes to the basket against Washington Wizards guard Delon Wright (55) and forward Rui Hachimura, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

With under two weeks until the February 9th NBA trade deadline, rumors have started to heat up. 

The Knicks will be linked to any potential stars on the move, but considering the amount of money/playing time linked to Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle, and RJ Barrett, plus the emergence of Quickley and Grimes, it’s more likely that New York makes a meaningful but less-splashy move. Potentially one that involves one of the protected first-round picks they own.

While protected firsts have value, the protections placed on them mean they are more often used for moving up in the draft, acquiring players on rookie contracts, or adding rotation-level players who are not viewed as major difference-makers. Since the Knicks have a slew of protected first-round picks, they could deal at least one now and still have enough to move up in the draft this June.

We’ve seen a lot of reports in recent weeks suggesting that the Knicks are targeting players who will be unrestricted free agents in 2024 (guys like Malik Beasley and Eric Gordon). This would mean that they want to create cap space in 2024 and would, thus, be looking to trade for a veteran who can help shore up the roster this year and next but can then be let go in order to add a better player in free agency.

So who might those players be?


OG Anunoby, G/F Toronto Raptors

The Anunoby rumors started in earnest last week, so I dug into what his addition might look like for the Knicks. In the article, I discussed that, according to RAPTOR, Anunoby is the 26th-ranked small forward in basketball by Wins Above Replacement and ranks 13th when you filter for just defensive RAPTOR ranks. 

His 2.1 steals per game lead the NBA, and his Defensive Win Shares ranks 20th in the league among all forwards, so his addition would be a big boost to New York’s ability to defend on the perimeter. His addition to the starting lineup would likely push RJ Barrett to shooting guard and Quentin Grimes to the bench, but what the Raptors want in return is still a question mark. 

According to Shams Charania, “New York has shown a willingness to offer multiple first-round picks for Anunoby,” but it will likely take more than that. The Knicks will need to include one of Immanuel Quickley or Obi Toppin and potentially Derrick Rose or Evan Fournier as well in order to make the salaries work. 

With the way Quickley has been playing, shipping him off would likely not be a popular move amongst the fanbase. 


Grayson Allen, SG Milwaukee Bucks

Another player the Knicks have been linked to of late is Grayson Allen. The 27-year-old veteran would bring a reliable three-pointer shooter to a team in need of one. Allen is a career 39.4% shooter from deep and is currently shooting 40% from beyond the arc with 1.9 threes made per game. He also averages 10.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game and is a solid all-around player.

However, his value is really in his ability to space the floor for guys like Brunson and Barrett. Allen ranks 48th by RAPTOR in Wins Above Replacement at shooting guard. He has a -0.1 defensive RAPTOR score, and the Bucks as a team have a better defensive score when he’s off the court than when he’s on. If the Knicks are able to part with Cam Reddish and a second-round pick or two then adding Allen would make sense, but if the cost is a first-round pick then it seems highly unlikely. 

Grayson Allen helped the Bucks beat the Knicks
Milwaukee Bucks guard Grayson Allen (12) drives to the basket past New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett (9) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Serge Ibaka, PF, and George Hill, PG Milwaukee Bucks

In fact, the Bucks appear to be hesitating in including Allen in any deal for Reddish, so if Allen isn’t included, it seems like the Knicks could be getting back “salary fillers” Serge Ibaka and George Hill in a deal for Reddish and one or two second-round picks. 

The move would make some sense for New York since Reddish never plays and the Knicks are in need of rim protection with Mitchell Robinson sidelined. Ibaka has struggled to crack the Milwaukee rotation in the midst of his 14th season. He’s played in only 16 games and just two since November 21st, adding even more speculation he will be dealt.

Still, Ibaka is on the downside of his career and even had a -0.5 defensive RAPTOR last year in 54 games. He would help the Knicks while Robinson is out, but with Jericho Sims earning more minutes and Isaiah Hartenstein playing better of late, does Ibaka have a role when Robinson comes back?

Hill would also give the Knicks a veteran point guard off of the bench, but they already have one of those in Derrick Rose and they don’t play him, so it’s hard to see the fit there. Plus, Shams reported that both players have been linked to the Suns in a deal for Jae Crowder. 


Alex Caruso, SG Chicago Bulls

Lastly, there have been a few reports that the Knicks could also be interested in Alex Caruso. The veteran guard is averaging 5.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 43% from the field and 38.7% from three on 2.2 attempts per game. His shooting would provide similar floor spacing to Grayson Allen, but Caruso also brings an all-Defensive-team-caliber ability and playoff experience.

According to RAPTOR, Caruso is the 11th-ranked shooting guard in the NBA in Wins Above Replacement and the best defensive shooting guard in the NBA. His 5.8 defensive RAPTOR score is nearly two points ahead of the next-highest player, Josh Green, and is 5.6 points higher than Quentin Grimes, who ranks 38th among shooting guards but is one of New York’s top perimeter defenders. 

Caruso is due $9.46 million next season and only has $3 million of his $9.89 million deal guaranteed for the 2024-25 season, which means the Knicks could get out of his contract with a minor penalty ahead of the 2024 season, which we mentioned above was a selling point for them. Considering Caruso was a key reserve on the Lakers’ NBA championship-winning team in 2020 and could only cost the Knicks Reddish and a second-round pick, he makes for an attractive option. 


There are obviously other players that fans want the Knicks to be interested in. Zach LaVine has been the biggest name, but it’s been reported that the Bulls are unlikely to trade any of their big stars other than Nikola Vucevic. The Hornets are also listening to offers for Jalen McDaniels but Shams has listed only the Suns, Raptors, Jazz, Pacers, and Spurs as teams monitoring the forward. 

Malik Beasley was also commonly linked to the Knicks, but Shams’ article points out that the Jazz are asking for a first-round pick back, which makes it seem highly unlikely that New York makes that move. I’ve also been interested in the Knicks exploring a trade for Jae Crowder, but as of now, it seems like the Heat and Hawks are his biggest suitors. 

Many people have also tabbed the Knicks as a likely suitor for Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanović since New York could take on Bogdanović’s guaranteed money in 2024, but so far there have been no credible reports suggesting they are pursuing this option. 

As rumors continue to heat up, we’ll keep you posted so make sure you’re checking back with amNew York Sports for your Knicks coverage.