The Knicks kicked off trade deadline week by parting ways with one of the two guys in charge of making deals, but that doesn’t mean the team won’t make moves before Thursday at 3 p.m. In fact, recent days have featured a rash of rumors, with the Knicks tied to everyone from D’Angelo Russell and Dennis Schroeder to Malik Monk and John Henson.
Before we dive into everything everyone has been hearing through the grapevine, let’s get one important matter out of the way. Fare-thee-well, Steve Mills. Well, kind of. He’ll apparently be back as a board member of a new, “standalone sports company” that is being spun off from the Madison Square Garden Co. and doesn’t quite exist yet.
The New York Knicks Announce Steve Mills to Leave His Position pic.twitter.com/Bdw37DKuEM— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) February 4, 2020
Steve, you always seemed like you were in over your head, yet for awhile it felt like you would be a member of the front office forever. Instead, James Dolan cut your time with the team short, possibly because his feelings were hurt when fans recently chanted that he should sell the team. Dolan doesn’t like being publicly embarrassed. He needed to do something, and you were the fall guy this time. The Knicks are most likely better off without you.
One more thing before we get to the trade rumors. Good luck, Scott Perry! Have you been given full autonomy to make trades before the deadline? Are you not allowed to do anything? Will you even be part of the organization when the Knicks next tip off on Thursday against the Orlando Magic? We have no idea! It’s fun not knowing anything! You seem pretty competent, and certainly appear to be a step up from Mills. But you also might just be a placeholder as the Dolan cobbles together an offer of Mitchell Robinson, Frank Ntilikina, R.J. Barrett, Kevin Knox and four first-round picks for Masai Ujiri. You gotta get your guy.
Or maybe they’re going to go in another direction.
ESPN Sources with @ramonashelburne: Knicks owner Jim Dolan is already considering a front office model that is working with Golden State (Bob Myers) and the Lakers (Rob Pelinka): Hiring a top basketball executive out of the player agent ranks.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 4, 2020
CAA's Austin Brown is among those being given internal consideration for the Knicks' presidency opening, per SNY sources.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) February 4, 2020
Alright, let’s get to the matter at hand. The trade deadline is on Thursday, and the Knicks keep coming up as potential sellers. Or buyers. Or neither. Or both. Here’s what’s going on.
Could the Knicks land one of the top picks of the 2015 draft?
The biggest name out there is D’Angelo Russell. He was a restricted free agent this past offseason, although he may not have been gettable. Either way, the Knicks were laser focused on their plan of luring Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to New York. For what it’s worth, that plan worked! KD and Kyrie are in New York, albeit on the other side of a bridge.
Anyhow, according to SNY’s Ian Begley, the Knicks recently “registered interest” with the Dubs about a potential deal for Russell.
It’s unclear how far along talks have gone, but Bobby Portis is one name that came up in the conversations, per SNY sources.
Per SNY sources, Frank Ntilikina’s name has also come up in conversations between the Knicks and Warriors around Russell.
Are the Knicks going to snag Russell for a package centered around Portis and Ntilikina? Probably not! Adrian Wojnarowski is saying that the Minnesota Timberwolves are desperately trying to land Russell.
ESPN Sources: Minnesota orchestrating three-team trade talks with Houston and Atlanta -- with hopes of ultimately turning discussions into a four-way deal that brings Golden State G D'Angelo Russell to Timberwolves. https://t.co/YaHunnVWpo— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 4, 2020
Russell is probably a no go, y’all.
Then again, maybe Mills has something up his sleeve.
Just yesterday, Steve Mills was on the phone trying to negotiate trades for the Knicks, including a pursuit for Golden State's D'Angelo Russell, league sources tell ESPN. Ownership pushed to change course on plans to forgo trade talks for Marcus Morris, too. He's available now.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 4, 2020
Oh right, Mills is gone. The situation with Morris is confusing. Did Mills not want to trade him but Dolan wants him to be available? Is Perry a Morris guy? Are they or aren’t they going to move him? Are they or aren’t they going to try to sign him to a massive extension this summer?
According to Newsday’s Steve Popper, it’s now more likely that Morris gets moved before the deadline.
Doing this ahead of the trade deadline puts the future of the franchise in place - with an emphasis on future, not handcuffing the team with a big contract this week. And Morris is more likely to depart than even a day ago - Clippers in the mix; add Miami to the teams talking.— Steve Popper (@StevePopper) February 4, 2020
Frank, Elfrid Payton and Dennis Smith Jr. just aren’t cutting it. The Knicks need a point guard!
The Knicks have been searching for a bonafide floor general since before the advent of the internet. Well, the internet was probably around, but it was much more difficult to find endless free porn. Where were we? Ah yes, the Knicks are interested in a number of point men.
First up, another Dennis. This time, his last name is Schroder. According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, the Knicks are getting high on the Oklahoma City Thunder’s supply. The tidbit that the Knicks are “high on OKC’s Dennis Schroder” is buried near the end of this piece from Bondy.
Schroeder has actually been quite good this season, but it isn’t clear whether there have been any substantive discussions about a deal for him. As Chris Paul’s backup in OKC, Schroeder has been playing over 31 minutes per night and averaging 19.1 points (47.2 percent from the field, 38.8 percent from three), 4.1 assists and 3.9 rebounds. He’d be an upgrade, but at what cost? Again, we have no clue. Schroeder is 26 and has another year left on his contract after this season.
As for other point guards the Knicks are targeting, the team has recently held talks with the Charlotte Hornets, with an aim of getting either Malik Monk or Terry Rozier, according to Begley. Julius Randle’s name came up during those discussions. That Randle news was first reported by Kevin O’Connor over at Bill Simmons’ sports and pop culture website The Ringer. Huh.
The Knicks and Hornets have had trade talks involving Julius Randle, per league sources.— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) February 4, 2020
According to Begley, “it’s unclear if there is significant traction between New York and Charlotte on any deal involving the players mentioned.”
Remember, these talks were going down as Dolan was mulling his decision to let go of Mills.
Are the Knicks chasing after any big men?
Funny I should ask. The Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers have reportedly discussed a deal for John Henson, who is a 6’9” center/power forward that has been in the NBA since 2012-13 and doesn’t appear to be very good. Additionally, according to the very same report, discussions between the two teams have cooled.
New York and Cleveland had been engaged in trade talks with John Henson included as part of a deal, but dialogue has since cooled, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 4, 2020
So where does this all leave us? If anything, you’re probably more confused now than you were when you began reading this article. Here’s a quick summary: The Knicks are involved in talks with multiple teams about numerous players, but they also just got rid of one of their decision makers, and could hire a new executive any second now.