When the NBA Trade Deadline approaches, you simply never know what will happen. However, one team who always seems to be among the trade rumor headlines is the New York Knicks. For sure, their fans will populate social media with their armchair analyst hats to try to come up with every single trade scenario conceivable for one of the biggest markets in professional sports. Truthfully, we’re also intrigued by what the Knicks are going to pull. As such, the deadline this year looks to be pretty exciting. We have no doubt the Knicks will be pretty active. On the flip side, they might also take some missteps at this stage of the season. Here we will look at what potential 2023 NBA trade deadline move the Knicks would regret.
The Knicks are having a relatively successful season so far. They currently carry a 27-25 win-loss record and are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference. That’s thanks mainly to the seamless integration of Jalen Brunson with Julius Randle and RJ Barrett. However, their inconsistent offense is a primary concern. Right now, the Knicks rank sixth in offensive rating but are mediocre in points per game and among the worst in bench scoring. For now, young gun Immanuel Quickley is the only reliable scoring option off the bench.
Not surprisingly, this has led to rumors of the Knicks looking to upgrade their secondary talent through trades. Players such as Evan Fournier, Derrick Rose, Cam Reddish, and Quickley have been included in such rumors. Keep in mind as well that the Knicks have a lot of draft capital. In fact, they have eight first-round picks and various second-round picks until 2026. They’re truly resource-rich right now. Again, that’s one reason we feel they will likely make a big move at the trade deadline.
With all these said, let’s look at what potential 2023 NBA trade deadline move the Knicks would regret.
Knicks give up first-round picks
As we already mentioned, the Knicks are a frequent subject of trade rumors due to the high expectations of the franchise. Fans want the best for the team, and currently, the Knicks are performing better than expected. While the trio of Brunson, Barrett, and Randle form a strong core, the Knicks lack depth and supporting cast talent. Again, Fournier, Reddish, and Rose should figure prominently at the deadline. Meanwhile, Quickley may actually be their best trade asset. It’s easy to imagine him playing a key sixth-man role for many teams.
Immanuel Quickley over his 7-game stretch of starting:
Once efficiency improves📈 pic.twitter.com/jIALMReos4
— Teg🚨 (@IQfor3) January 10, 2023
Remember that although Julius Randle was a potential trade candidate before the season, he has regained his All-Star form. He also has three years left on his contract, making any decision about his future best left for the offseason. Meanwhile, Fournier has played sparingly, and shedding his $18.9 million salary for next season is not necessary. New York will go over the cap, with or without him anyway.
The Knicks should then be sellers at the deadline. They have the pieces to try and markedly improve their current depth. That said, they should sell players and, if necessary, second-round picks. No first-rounders, please.
Recall that the Knicks should have learned their lesson from the Cam Reddish trade. Giving away a first-round pick for a player who only sees limited court time is not a wise decision. Reddish’s average of 21.1 minutes per game has not resulted in significant contributions, as he has not played since December.
Looking ahead, the Knicks can consider acquiring a player like Jae Crowder if the cost is anything outside of a first-round draft pick. Heck, they can package Quickley plus any combo of Rose, Reddish, or Fournier for all we care. Just keep the first-rounders. This team’s core is good enough and young enough for the team to build around. Those first-round picks are a gold mine in the years to come.
For the fans, sure, missing out on Donovan Mitchell was a huge disappointment. However, these same fans should remember that acquiring Brunson has been a huge success for the team this season. I mean, sure, be active at the deadline. Rock the boat, if you wish. Just don’t mortgage the team’s future with potentially underperforming players coming in. Remember that with New York’s attractive trade assets, the team can consider guys like Kyle Kuzma, Eric Gordon, and Saddiq Bey aside from Crowder.
Heck, if they want to swing for the fences, maybe making a play for Toronto’s OG Anunoby is also in the cards. Perhaps THAT would be the only scenario where a first-rounder would be worth giving up.