The Portland Trail Blazers just made a blockbuster Damian Lillard trade, sending the seven-time All-Star to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Deandre Ayton and others. Now, the Blazers still have moves to make — with a Jrue Holiday trade tops on their list — and according to rumors, the New York Knicks are one of the teams interested in the guard. So, here is what the perfect Knicks-Blazers trade for Holiday would look like.
Knicks get Jrue Holiday, Blazers get Immanuel Quickley, and picks in a trade
After getting Jalen Brunson as a free agent last summer, the Knicks had their best season in years, making the playoffs for just the second time since 2013 and winning a playoff series for the second time since 2000.
The problem is that the Knicks are bringing back basically the same roster with only a few changes around the edges. Obi Toppin is out and Donte DiVincenzo is in, but the core of Brunson, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, Quentin Grimes, Josh Hart, Immanuel Quickley, and Isaiah Hartenstein remain.
In order to improve on last season’s results, the Knicks need to make a bigger upgrade somewhere on the roster, and putting a veteran guard like Jrue Holiday next to Brunson would be such a move.
There are a lot of suitors for Holiday. The entire NBA knows that the Blazers likely want to flip him, as he doesn’t fit the team’s youth movement, and the two-time All-Star and five-time All-Defensive Team guard is a championship-winning player, just two seasons removed from winning it all with the Bucks.
To make a Jrue Holiday trade with Portland, New York will have to come up with a rock-solid offer. That offer is Evan Fournier (to help match Holiday’s $36 million salary), Isaiah Hartenstein (who can be a solid backup for Ayton), and Immanuel Quickly (who the Blazers can develop with Scoot Henderson of flip again).
The Knicks will also likely have to give up at least one of their stockpile of future first-round picks. New York has all of its own first-rounders from 2024 to 2030 along with protected picks coming from the Bucks, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, and Washington Wizards in the next few seasons. That’s 11 first-round picks in the next six drafts.
This is a big Knicks trade offer, and it uses up two tradeable contracts with Fournier and Hartenstein, as well as a young asset in Quickley, and a draft pick.
Ultimately, it still leaves the Knicks with enough assets and flexibility to make another big swing, similar to a Jrue Holiday trade. The Knicks will still have two double-digit-million-dollar contracts with Josh Hart and Mitchell Robinson, a young asset in Quentin Grimes, and nine or 10 first-round picks left in their war chest. With that, the Knicks could bring in another star role player to help the team get to the next level.
The opportunity cost here is that all those assets together could produce a true superstar. Making this trade offer likely precludes the Knicks from going all in if a top-25 NBA player becomes unhappy and subsequently available, as stars do all the time now in the modern NBA.
This is the perfect Knick trade offer that will get Holiday from the Blazers. What comes next is that New York has to decide whether adding Holiday and possibly another player like him down the line is worth missing out on someone like Ja Morant, Joel Embiid, Trae Young, Zion Williamson, Pascal Siakam, Paul George, or whoever the next surprise unhappy superstar is.