The Knicks aren’t necessarily committed to all of their youngsters, though the kids — paired with proper leadership — are providing a shed of light at the end of a two-decades-long tunnel of incompetence.
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks refused to include the likes of guard Frank Ntilikina and forward Kevin Knox in the trade for Derrick Rose earlier this week because they could be dangled in a potentially larger deal.
Knox, 21, has not appeared in the last six games while Ntilikina, 22, has sat out the last 22 games due to injuries, coach’s decisions, or most recently, league COVID protocols.
The Knicks are keeping tabs on Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards and Victor Oladipo of the Houston Rockets — both of whom are believed to be on the trade block leading up to the league’s March 25 trade deadline.
Beal’s Wizards host the Knicks on Friday before Oladipo and the Rockets visit Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
Trade rumors have constantly swirled around Beal for years now in Washington and, per Berman, the Wizards might be more inclined to pull the trigger on a deal despite the 27-year-old saying he would prefer to stay with the team that drafted him in 2012. Beal’s value is as high as ever as he leads the NBA with 32.8 points per game along with 4.5 assists.
He is signed for at least next season at $34.5 million with a $37.2 million player option for 2022-23.
Oladipo would be a significantly cheaper option considering he is a free agent following this year. The 28-year-old shooting guard was acquired by the Houston Rockets from the Indiana Pacers as a part of the mega-deal surrounding James Harden going to the Brooklyn Nets.
In 19 games this season, he’s averaging 19.8 points per game.
The Knicks’ reported interest in Beal and Oladipo suggests that head coach Tom Thibodeau is looking for a legitimate scoring threat. The Knicks are exceeding expectations at 11-15 behind one of the NBA’s best defenses, but the offense has been unsustainable — mostly fueled by an inability to spread the floor.
Plugging Beal or Oladipo at the 2 wouldn’t necessarily force a youngster toward the bottom of the depth chart, either.
While the 20-year-old RJ Barrett — who was drafted as a 2 guard two years ago out of Duke — has been inconsistent at times this year when it comes scoring, he’s been seeing a bulk of his time at the small-forward spot. Meanwhile, veteran Reggie Bullock has gotten a bulk of the starts at the shooting-guard role.