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Cam Reddish trade talks intensify but rumored returns are uninspiring

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Cam Reddish New York Knicks
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 10: Cam Reddish #21 of the New York Knicks dribbles the ball in the second quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on February 10, 2022 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

The Cam Reddish saga may finally be coming to a close in New York.

Almost exactly a year after the Knicks acquired Reddish from the Hawks for Kevin Knox and a 2022 first-round pick, the team seems set to deal away the 23-year-old forward for diminishing returns. 

In his most recent newsletter, Marc Stein reported that the Knicks are closing in a deal for Cam Reddish with Mavericks, Bucks, and Lakers looking like the possible favorites. New York is allegedly looking for “2nd round draft compensation” and “are angling for Dallas to send Thibodeau favorite Reggie Bullock to NY.”

While the small forward has not performed up to expectations in New York, averaging 8.4 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game, it’s hard to blame the player.

Reddish hasn’t seen the court since playing nine minutes on December 3rd against Dallas, and despite the Knicks being desperate for a physical, defensive win, head coach Tom Thibodeau refuses to let Reddish see the court. Even with RJ Barrett, Jalen Brunson, and Obi Toppin missing times with various injuries, Cam Reddish still stayed glued to the bench. 

The Knicks are in desperate need of a wing player off of the bench and finding one should be their top priority at the deadline. They simply cannot continue giving their entire starting lineup 35+ minutes every night. Finding somebody Thibodeau trusts is the only answer since it seems like the organization is not going to make him play the players they’ve acquired for him. 

However, it’s hard to get too excited about the possibility of Reggie Bullock coming back to New York. 

At 6’6″ 205, Bullock is a smaller wing presence than Reddish and is eight years older. Plus, by almost any metric you look at, Bullock has been one of the worst small forwards in the league this season. 

According to RAPTOR, which is FiveThirtyEight’s ratings that “use play-by-play and player-tracking data to calculate each player’s individual plus-minus measurements and wins above replacement” while accounting for playing time, Bullock is THE WORST small forward in wins above replacement at -1.6. His overall RAPTOR score is -5.2, which puts him third-worst at the position and for somebody who makes his reputation on defense, his defensive RAPTOR score for this year is -1.9, which ranks 84th. 

Reggie Bullock is an uninspiring trade target for the Knicks

Dealing Cam Reddish for an older and less productive version of the same player doesn’t feel like a move that helps the Knicks in any meaningful way. The addition of the second-round picks could give New York more ammunition for a trade in the offseason, but they already have 13 draft picks across the next three drafts, so they don’t really need to acquire more picks. 

While adding bench depth is crucial and filling a roster spot with a player who might actually play is the primary goal, this trade would feel like the organization giving in to its head coach rather than building the best rotation to compete this season. 

However, nothing is a done deal, so there is still time for other options to emerge. With Miles McBride also seeing less time on the court, it’s possible the Knicks explore trading with the Lakers for Patrick Beverley again. But with the team sitting tied for 6th in the Eastern Conference and playing some of the best basketball in the league over the last month, it would be a shame to see them fail to capitalize on what has been a surprisingly good start to the season. 

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Cam Reddish (0) of the New York Knicks prepares to play defense in an early season game

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