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Knicks NBA trade rumors: Mills, Perry looking for starters, not draft picks

Steve Mills (left) and Scott Perry (right). (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

The Knicks aren’t going anywhere this season — but that doesn’t mean that a complete fire sale is coming.

SNY’s Ian Begley reported on Wednesday morning that the Knicks aren’t willing to give up their trade chips for “draft picks, expiring contracts or young players who have struggled with other teams,” as they have in the past.

Instead, they are looking for starting-caliber players who can come in and immediately contribute.

With the NBA trade deadline coming on Feb. 6, the Knicks have received interest for the likes of Dennis Smith, Bobby Portis, and Marcus Morris — the latter accruing the most interest as of late.

Morris, who is having a career year, could fetch the Knicks a first-round draft pick to further fuel their youthful rebuild. The team’s core is currently comprised of young talents in RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Frank Ntilikina, and Kevin Knox.

Instead of practicing patience and obtaining draft capital to accrue more young talent to build off of, this reported change of course on the trade front reeks of desperation from president Steve Mills and Scott Perry.

The front-office duo’s job security has been on shaky ground for most of the season, though pressure has only magnified since the firing of head coach David Fizdale. By Begley’s reports, the thought process is that the trade market could yield players that would put a bandaid on the organization’s two-decade-long gushing wound that could buy them more time.

The problem with that potential line of thinking is that Morris, Portis, or Smith isn’t going to get the Knicks a star that will immediately reverse this 10-27 team’s fortunes. That only comes in free agency — which they’ve struck out on in years past — and the draft.

Now, instead of staying the course charted in the summer that keeps their veteran players on team-friendly contracts, Mills and Perry could be on the verge of throwing another sizable wrench into the Knicks’ rebuild.

Joe Pantorno