As the trade deadline draws ever nearer, the grapevine is predictably hurling rumors at us with the same force that Mitchell Robinson blocks shots. Most recently, the rumor mill has filled up with fantasies of a deal for Karl-Anthony Towns and realities of a bunch of unhappy ‘Bockers seeking greener pastures.
This year’s trade deadline is Thursday, Feb. 6, which is only a little over a month away, so set your alarms now. And hopefully you’ve got a shovel handy, because it’s time to dig into the latest trade speculation.
First things first, let’s dispel with this fiction that the Knicks are going to trade for Karl-Anthony Towns, who may or may not be unhappy in Minnesota on a Timberwolves team that is well under .500 (11-19 as of Dec. 26) and currently sits in 13th place in the Western Conference. The rumor that Towns is interested in finding a new town to call home stems from this report by Marc Berman of the New York Post, who cited “one individual who has spoken to team brass” as saying the following:
In the dream scenario, the Knicks, according to the source, envision being in good position to make a blockbuster trade for a star player who could grow “disgruntled’’ with his current situation.
According to this individual, who, remember, has spoken to team brass, the Knicks are not just interested in Towns. Nay, they are eyeing a number of guys who might get disgruntled, including Bradley Beal (he just recently signed a hefty contract extension through the 2021-2022 season), Jrue Holiday and Damian Lillard.
Of that trio, Holiday is the only player who seems even somewhat reasonable, and it just isn’t totally clear who the Knicks have that the New Orleans Pelicans would possibly want in a trade. Do the Pelicans want Elfrid Payton and Julius Randle back? Are they interested in all the young Knicks that weren’t enticing enough to land Anthony Davis?
Moving along, the Berman report notes that “another player the Knicks are expected to monitor is local product, Karl Anthony-Towns, the Timberwolves’ 24-year-old superstar who also signed a max extension this summer.”
Towns was the first overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft — who did the Knicks take in that draft? Can’t seem to remember…. oh well. Anyway, Towns is from New Jersey, which is close to New York, and he apparently “grew up a diehard Knicks’ fan,” per Berman. Well, well, well. Lookie here. Towns liked the Knicks when he was young, so surely he’s going to request to be traded to them, because that is historically what has always happened.
Thinking realistically, is there any reasonable trade package the T-Wolves accept for Towns when it comes to the Knicks? There was that report that the Timberwolves are among several teams interested in Dennis Smith Jr. Could DSJ go two-for-two as part of another deal that includes a bonafide NBA star?
Feel free to post your best fictional KAT trades in the comments, but up here it’s time to move on to the next bit of speculation.
The Knicks may be coming off a big win over the Brooklyn Nets, but despite the victory the ‘Bockers supposedly have some disgruntled players themselves. According to SNY’s Ian Begley, “a few Knicks have said privately in recent weeks that they prefer to be traded” prior to the deadline.
It’s unclear if any of those players have made a formal trade request to management, but the idea that Knicks players want to be somewhere else is indicative of how things have gone for New York this season.
The report did not name any names, but Allonzo Trier figures to be one of the names on the list. His playing time has plummeted — he’s currently averaging 13 minutes per game — and he has started to get fussy on social media.
Trier certainly has skills, but his attitude needs work, and if he can’t handle the reality of minutes not being guaranteed in the NBA then perhaps the Knicks should ship him out of town. It would be tragic trading a talented 23-year-old, but grumbling about your own personal playing time doesn’t help the team get better.
As for others that might want out of New York, it’s really just a guessing game at this point. Wayne Ellington has been nursing a sore Achilles, but he’s only played 14 minutes a night when healthy. Bobby Portis might believe he’s more than a third string power forward/backup center. DSJ might be seeking another change of scenery as he tries to salvage his potential. Perhaps Kevin Knox is confused about his minutes per game being down from 28 as a rookie to 20 as a sophomore.
Will the Knicks magically land a superstar before the deadline? Is Marcus Morris going to be dealt for a first round pick that will then be used as a trade chip in another deal? Has Julius Randle been increasing his trade value with some recent monster games? Are we nearing the end of the Frank Ntilikina era?
The speculation is part of the fun, people! This is all fun.