The NBA trade market will begin in earnest on Thursday, and the New York Knicks find themselves at the center of the rumor mill.
While trades can be made now, and the deadline itself isn’t until February 9th, ESPN’s front office insider Bobby Marks reported that 89% of the league will be eligible to be traded after December 15th, when free agent contracts are eligible to be dealt.
So let’s break down the rumors for the four Knicks players who are most often in trade discussions of late.
Evan Fournier may be the most obvious Knicks player to be on the market, but his contract is detrimental since he’s owed $18 million per year for the next three years. While New York can certainly use his three-point shooting, Fournier’s defense has made it hard for him to stay on the court, and he’s simply been too inconsistent during his brief tenure with the team.
Despite the high salary, competing teams who are in need of shooting could look to add Fournier for his potential floor-spacing. As of now, the most likely destination remains the Los Angeles Lakers, and the two teams have discussed trade concepts involving Fournier, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The Knicks are interested in taking back Patrick Beverly, who would supply elite defense and veteran leadership to the second unit, and Kendrick Nunn.
Unfortunately, a deal with Los Angeles might include sending the Lakers either Cam Reddish or a draft pick (or two) in order for the deal to be finalized.
Yet, to me, these rumors also don’t make much sense unless the Knicks make another move too.
As of now, there is really no role for Beverly in the Knicks rotation since both Fournier and Reddish are not earning minutes for the team. Both Immanuel Quickley and Miles McBride give New York strong defense off of the bench and are much younger and cheaper than Beverly.
However, the Knicks are also reportedly looking to deal Quickley and could see Beverly as a veteran replacement in the same role if the young guard was to be traded away.
The Knicks dealt a protected first-round pick as part of the deal for Reddish last year, but now he appears to be out of the rotation and on the block. Several teams have expressed some interest in Reddish, namely the Lakers, Heat, and Bucks, but he’s viewed as more of a flier than a hugely valuable trade chip, according to Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype.
Reddish will be a free agent in 2023 and doesn’t appear to be valued by the Knicks, so it’s hard to see the team getting back more than a second-round pick or two for him. As a result, the current rumors center around Reddish being added to a deal to make somebody take on Fournier’s contract, as mentioned above. That could be a tough pill to swallow for fans who believe in his upside, but unless Reddish moves into the rotation following the Jalen Brunson injury and improves his trade value, or his value to the Knicks, that appears to be the reality.
Another player who has recently been moved out of the rotation is Derrick Rose. The veteran point guard is another player whose contract could hamper any trade since he is making $14.5 million this year with a club option for next year.
As of now, the rumors on trades for Rose are more like whispers, but it does appear that the Mavericks are interested in bringing him in to lead the second unit. The Miami Heat were reportedly interested in bringing Rose in over a year ago before they traded for Kyle Lowry. With Lowry aging and struggling this season, the Heat, who are hoping to make a deep run in the playoffs, could look to add Rose to help their second unit as well.
We’ll end with the rumors that Knicks fans don’t want to hear. The team is reportedly making Immanuel Quickley available for a trade but is asking for a first-round pick in return. Given that Quickley has not yet fully broken out, New York is likely going to have to settle for a protected first-round pick if they do deal Quickley, which limits some of the intrigue considering the Knicks have seven first-round picks over the next three drafts anyway.
While moving Quickley would seem foolish, and could be, New York is also looking ahead to the other young players who would need long-term contracts like Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes, and McBride. The team will likely need to choose which players to extend, so moving Quickley could be their way to make the decision easier.