The NBA trade deadline is fast approaching on Thursday at 4 p.m. ET and the Knicks have yet to spark their potential firesale.
Two-straight wins over the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers are already just consolation prizes in early February as their record has risen to an unsightly 16-35 — third-worst in the Eastern Conference.
With a seventh consecutive losing season all but confirmed in 2019-20, the Knicks still lack a true direction. Though the picture could become much clearer with this trade deadline.
An abundance of short-term, veteran contracts are the obvious trade chips for president Steve Mills and general Scott Perry to unload.
Marcus Morris is having a career season in his first season with the Knicks. Taking advantage of his value while it’s sky-high would allow the Knicks to come away with some major draft capital — possibly even a first-round draft pick.
Julius Randle — who is signed through 2021-22 — is an attractive secondary scoring option for a contender.
The Knicks also have an abundance of shorter deals with the likes of Bobby Portis, Wayne Ellington, Taj Gibson, Elfrid Payton, and Reggie Bullock that could be unloaded for further capital.
Those moves would improve the Knicks’ chances of rebuilding through its youthful ranks — which already has a foundation in RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Frank Ntilikina, and Kevin Knox.
But desperation from Mills and Perry — whose jobs have been on shaky ground since the firing of head coach David Fizdale — could be searching for a much quicker fix to buy them more time.
In recent days, the Knicks have been linked in multiple reports with a possible blockbuster trade that would bring Golden State Warriors point guard D’Angelo Russell back to New York.
His first year in the Bay Area saw Russell continue his ascension as one of the top young point guards in the game following a coming-out campaign with the Brooklyn Nets last season.
In 32 games, he’s averaging 23.8 points and 6.3 assists per game on the league-worst Warriors.
Russell would provide the Knicks with their most talented point guard in years, but it would take a heavy price.
It remains to be seen what the Warriors are looking for, exactly, but there were rumblings that the Knicks would have to include the promising Robinson in a deal. However, SNY’s Ian Begley said he and Barrett were “off the table,” when it came to trade talks.
That would mean the Knicks would have to lead with a first-round draft pick while allowing the Warriors to have their pick of the litter in Knox, Ntilikina, Allonzo Trier, and more.
The projected lofty return appears to be irking Knicks fans, who believe the organization could have signed Russell during free agency last summer. The problem with that thought process, though, was that Russell was a restricted free agent and he was basically traded to the Warriors in the sign-and-trade that brought Kevin Durant to the Nets.
A return to New York could further fuel the fire under Russell, who will be keen on showing the Nets what they gave up.