This isn’t the usual sort of trade deadline for the New York Knicks where a home-run, blockbuster deal was a necessity — which never came to fruition — to make the team a legitimate contender.
As the 2024 NBA trade deadline approaches on Thursday at 3 p.m. ET, the Knicks are very much contenders in need of one or two pieces to help bolster their standings as one of the Eastern Conference’s elite.
Following the acquisition of OG Anunoby in late December, the Knicks have been the best team in basketball, going 15-3 in their last 18 games heading into Tuesday night’s meeting with the Memphis Grizzlies. Jalen Brunson is an MVP candidate, Anunoby sparked a defensive reawakening, and Julius Randle remained performing at a high level with a solid rotation of depth pieces providing a ceaseless rotation of tenacity.
That is when Knicks basketball is at its best, after all — even if it hasn’t been seen at this level for more than two decades.
But New York is still in the market at the deadline draws near. An additional shooting guard to create a more lethal rotation with Donte DiVincenzo appears to be an order of business. Some frontcourt support would also be welcomed with Mitchell Robinson done for the season and Randle out for at least the next two weeks after dislocating his shoulder.
It’s forced the Knicks to give big-time minutes to Precious Achiuwa — also a part of the deal with the Toronto Raptors for Anunoby — and Isaiah Hartenstein; both of whom have filled in admirably in the intern with Randle out and Anunoby dealing with a day-to-day issue of his own.
To address the guard situation, the Knicks have been linked to Bruce Brown in recent weeks. Having already been traded this season from the Indiana Pacers to the Raptors, word of the 27-year-old getting flipped to another team almost immediately began.
He’s a quintessential Tom Thibodeau guy, averaging 14.2 points per 36 minutes this season while adding a relentless work ethic on defense. The Raptors are rumored to want a first-round pick, per Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.
Out west, the Utah Jazz have a pair of potential targets that the Knicks could be looking at to fill both voids.
Guard Jordan Clarkson and forward Kelly Olynyk are two players who the Knicks “still have on their radar” this week. Clarkson provides more of a scoring threat compared to Brown, averaging 19.5 points per game since the start of the 2022-23 season. However, his defensive rating this season of 122.7 is the worst of his career.
Olynyk has built an 11-year career on mostly being a reserve player, though he’s capable of contributing off the bench. He averages nine rebounds per 36 minutes this season.
The main issue that is snagging the Knicks’ deadline is the popularity of guard Quentin Grimes, who is believed to be drawing an abundance of interest around the league and is an important member of Thibodeau’s rotation. New York does not appear willing to move the 23-year-old, per multiple reports.