The Knicks are in a great position to make a deal. The type of trade, whether big or small, buying or selling, or financially motivated or not, remains to be seen. As mentioned in HoopsHype’s trade guide, New York’s stability this season, and its combination of assets and moveable contracts, put them in a position to be buyers ahead of the trade deadline.
They have enough assets with their combination of tradeable first-round picks (up to four of their own and four heavily protected ones from other teams) and young promising prospects like Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin to trade for just about anyone. That was proven last offseason when they were close to acquiring Donovan Mitchell but held a line and ultimately fell short. The Knicks clearly want to acquire an All-Star while not giving up too much so they’ll have enough assets left to get more upgrades later.
Will New York’s pursuit of the next available star limit how aggressive they are ahead of the trade deadline? It’s possible. For example, according to Michael Scotto, the Knicks are unwilling to part with a first-round pick to get off Evan Fournier. He is owed $18.9 million for next season and is no longer in the team’s rotation. This could signal that while the team will be on the lookout for trades that improve the roster for this season, they won’t part with premium assets that would hurt their prospects in a future trade for an All-Star.
Below is a hierarchy of players they’ve been linked to.
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The Knicks can theoretically outbid every team other than the Thunder and Jazz for an All-Star if volume of first-round picks is the main currency. The only issue with that is that there is no All-Star available that addresses their needs. Fred VanVleet might qualify as the only All-Star available but the Knicks don’t need him now that they have Jalen Brunson, who is playing at an All-Star level.
There are several players that rival teams are circling as potential trade candidates in the future. Zach LaVine’s name has been mentioned most prominently in case the Bulls decide to pull the plug on their current group, with teams like the Knicks, Lakers, Mavericks, and Heat potentially being interested. The Knicks could easily outbid these teams for LaVine should he become available, but barring a last-minute change, he will likely finish the season in Chicago.
New York’s most likely next opportunity to pursue an All-Star will be in the upcoming offseason. By then there could be clarity on players like LaVine and others who may want to find new homes. Bradley Beal and Damian Lillard are players that have been monitored for years and teams are patiently waiting for them to potentially request trades. Karl-Anthony Towns could be a name to monitor if the Wolves decide they need to recoup assets lost from the Rudy Gobert trade. Although a long shot, Trae Young would be a great addition for the Knicks if he does become the next star to request a trade.
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The one starter whose name has been consistently mentioned in trade rumors and would fit in well with the Knicks is OG Anunoby. They are believed to be prepared to offer three first-round picks for Anunoby, but that comes with an asterisk. It’s unclear which first-round picks the Knicks are offering and it’s possible they’re mostly offering some of the heavily protected ones owed by other teams.
The Knicks may have to trade multiple unprotected first-round picks to acquire Anunoby, which may be a non-starter for them because of their pursuit of an All-Star. There are several other teams like the Suns and Grizzlies who have a bigger need for Anunoby and are better equipped to trade multiple first-round picks for him.
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Saddiq Bey is another player the Knicks have been linked to and have shown interest in the past. Bey’s name has been mentioned sparingly in trade rumors since he was demoted from the starting lineup early in the year. It’s possible these rumors are mainly speculation from rival teams due to the demotion but he has been back in their starting lineup since the beginning of January. He started the season with a shooting slump but has averaged 16 points per game on 38 percent shooting from three-point range since returning to the starting lineup.
The Knicks could offer the Pistons their own first-round pick back which is heavily protected through 2027, which would allow Detroit to trade more future first-round picks going forward. But the Knicks would probably still need to part with one high-quality asset to get in the mix for Bey. The same probably goes for Bojan Bogdanovic, who would be a good fit in New York. Detroit has no urgency to move either player and both can be contributors next year if the Pistons plan on making a playoff run.
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The Knicks have reportedly scouted Alex Caruso as of late but there is some overlap between him and Quickley since both players are defensive-first guards. They are also already so deep with guards so there may need to be a guard going out to make sense.
If the Knicks find a trade for Quickley that solves some of their other needs then it would make sense to acquire Caruso, but the Knicks have reportedly changed their tune on moving Quickley. And even if Caruso is available, it may take a significant offer like two first-round picks for the Bulls to consider moving him.
Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt
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If the Knicks don’t want to meet the price tag for the players listed earlier, then they could offer multiple second-round picks to get something done for a role player. The Knicks have 10 second-round picks they could play with to acquire one.
Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt are players worth monitoring for the Knicks, according to Michael Scotto. The Knicks expressed interest in Beasley three years ago when he was a free agent and former Wolves general manager Gersson Rosas is now in the Knicks’ front office. Scotto notes that Rosas is a supporter of Beasley and Vanderbilt dating back to their Minnesota days.
Beasley and Vanderbilt are players the Jazz have grouped together in trade offers and a move to New York could make sense. But will the Knicks meet Utah’s lofty price tags for their players, which could be for more than second-round picks? If the Knicks need to part ways with a first-round pick or a prospect to get the duo, perhaps they can get off Fournier in the process.
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The Knicks expressed interest in Grayson Allen, according to Michael Scotto. However, the Bucks have resisted discussing Allen in conversations so they can remain as deep as possible. The Bucks remain a potential Cam Reddish destination should they strike out on bigger targets like Jae Crowder or Eric Gordon.
The Bucks could acquire Crowder without sending back Allen but would probably need to include him if they are to acquire a more expensive player like Gordon or Bogdanovic. If such a framework gains traction, then it would make sense for the Knicks to get involved to acquire Allen. Per Scotto, the Knicks like Allen in exchange for Reddish, so this framework could represent a way for them to upgrade the roster without giving up a premium asset.
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