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Knicks Trade Rumors: Someone says New York likes P.J. Tucker

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NBA: Phoenix Suns at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The trade deadline is just weeks away, you know. Like last year, the Knicks hold a lot of contracts of a lot of different sizes, and they’re not particularly good, so there’s reason to believe they might look to make some trades. Of course, they made no trades in this position last year, so I don’t know why I’m using last year as an example. I wish I had paid for that delete function the computer salesman offered. Anyway, here’s the first actual Knicks trade rumor I’ve seen this season, from ESPN’s Ian Begley:

It doesn’t seem as if any move is imminent, but some members of the Knicks' front office have labeled Phoenix Suns forward P.J. Tucker as a potential trade target, league sources told ESPN.com.

On one hand, the Knicks’ defense sucks heaps of ass, and Tucker is a good defender, and good defenders ostensibly make a bad defense better, so that’d be nice. Tucker also played his best NBA years for Jeff Hornacek in Phoenix. His contract is expiring, and there are several reasonable, equitable trades the Knicks could put together.

On the other hand, P.J. Tucker is an okay offensive player at best, and this season he’s been far from his best.

On a third hand I was hiding under my shirt, because I’m embarrassed to have a belly-hand: More good individual defenders would be nice, but I’m not sure a lack of those is the Knicks’ main problem. They’re unlikely to be a lockdown team with this Carmelo Anthony and those point guards taking a lot of minutes, but I reckon the difference between nearly-worst and nearly-average has more to do with lineups and schemes than it does individuals getting beat or not. I see the Knicks committing a lot of unforced errors on defense -- guys switch when they don’t have to, over-help, guard pick-and-rolls with uneven strategies, and make all kinds of other miscues that end up *giving* the opposition open shots. Now, maybe the presence of one more smart and hard-working dude like Tucker would improve execution of whatever scheme New York’s trying to implement. I don’t know. My point, I guess, is that I place more of my hope for a non-horrible Knicks defense in quotes like this (same article):

“If we’re asking a certain guy to pick up at half court, we have to know, is he capable of doing that?” Hornacek said Tuesday. “We might have three guys on the team or four guys that can do that, and the rest of them might not be able to. So we’ve got to put them in those positions that they’re capable of [handling]. We’ve got to figure out how as a team, what we’re going to do that lends to everybody’s capabilities.”

... than I do in stopgap trades. I’m not anti-PJ Tucker deal, it’s just just ... eh, take it or leave it.

Anyhow, trade rumors leak for a reason, and the reason is never “the organization wants the public to know who they’re targeting in trades,” so keep that in mind when appraising the likelihood of something like this actually happening. Okay, see ya. Have a good day.