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Mock Trade Mailbag: The good, the bad, and the totally unrealistic

Are you mocking me?

Toronto Raptors v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The trade deadline is finally upon us! Thankfully the Knicks were nice enough to wait until the final day to make any actual trades, so this trade mailbag can run today and still seem kinda relevant. Thanks for enabling my laziness, Knicks!

I got plenty of mock trades from all of you wonderful folks, so let’s hop right into the action here:


Timberwolves get: Bobby Portis and Dennis Smith Jr.
Knicks get: Gorgui Dieng and a protected Minnesota first rounder

The math checks out here, and I could absolutely see the motivation for the Timberwolves. You see, over the last few months, the Wolves traded away every point guard on their roster thinking they were going to be adding D’Angelo Russell, and now it appears that ain’t gonna happen. They’ve also apparently had some interest in Smith Jr. for a while, so this checks out. I’d assume pretty heavy protections on that pick — maybe lottery protected for a couple years, then converts to two second rounders or something. But even a protected first looks good on paper. Plus, no more watching Bobby Portis!

Grade: A-

Clippers get: Marcus Morris
Knicks get: LAC 2020 first rounder, Moe Harkless and Mfiondu Kabengele

So I’ve been BUTCHERING the pronunciation of poor Mr. Kabengele’s name for weeks on Locked On Knicks now. For those interested, it’s fee-ON-doo cabin-gelly. Might want to get used to it, because this is probably the most likely destination and package coming back for Marcus Morris. The Knicks are trying to snake Landry Shamet from the Clips, but seeing as he’s actually a big part of their team and chances of winning a title, it’s probably not overly likely. Kabengele can shoot the triple, can kinda pass, and seems like he could maybe be a fit with Mitch long-term at the 4 spot. Maybe try to snaggle Jerome Robinson or Terrence Mann away too? ALL THE YOUTH.

Grade: A-

Thunder get: Wayne Ellington
Knicks get: Andre Roberson and an OKC second rounder

Put very simply, this is the type of trade the Knicks should be looking for for most of their guys that they signed this past offseason. Minus the obvious Marcus Morris (and maybe Reggie Bullock and Julius Randle) most of these guys are worth a second rounder at best on the open market. The Knicks would be wise to cash out on all of them. That’s what smart teams do.

Grade: A

Someone, anyone, gets: Allonzo Trier
Knicks get: A slightly overripe avocado

At least slightly overripe avocados don’t go on Twitter leaking team details to teenagers in DMs. Get those healthy fats, the couple brown spots won’t kill ya. Also, notice the effect on the Knicks’ wins and losses.

Grade: A++


Trailblazers get: Julius Randle and Bobby Portis
Knicks get: Hassan Whiteside, Skal Labissiere, Rodney Hood, and a second rounder

I actually find this trade to be selling pretty low on Randle. I could see why the Blazers would do this — if you can add another offensive-minded player that doesn’t play much defense to your starting lineup AND your bench, you oughta do it. But for the Knicks, just getting to be the latest team to take a flier on Skal along with a second rounder doesn’t seem like all that much for their prized free agent acquisition of last summer. Wait til next year for Randle, when he’ll be a useful player on an expiring contract, instead of trading him for pennies now. Plus, who wants to watch Whiteside the rest of the year? Yuck.

Grade: D+

Heat get: Marcus Morris
Knicks get: Dion Waiters, a lottery-protected first, and Tyler Herro

Due to real-life Heat trade events, this one is likely off the table now. Womp womp. That said, even if the Heat were still in the market, I doubt Herro would ever be on the table for what could potentially be a one-year rental. Maybe the Heat would’ve given Morris the Iguodala treatment and extended him on the spot, but either way, I think this one gets high marks as a Knicks fan but low marks as a realist.

Grade: C-


Reggie Fils-Aimé gets: Bobby Portis
Knicks get: Nintendo Switch

The Knicks would be crazy to turn this down, right? The Nintendo Switch would be the switchiest player this team has acquired since Frank Ntilikina. Seamless switching from handheld to the TV? Swoon. Plus some Mario Party could keep morale up on road trips. Let’s do this.

Grade: A++


Pelicans get: RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox, Kyle Kuzma
Lakers get: Marcus Morris
Knicks get: Brandon Ingram and... doesn’t matter

I’m not into this idea. I get trying to go after Ingram before he hits restricted free agency this summer, but why not just go after him for nothing but money and make the Pelicans match? Worse comes to worse, you can always pursue him next year under contract if they do, but at least you took your shot to get him for only a wad of James Dolan’s cash. On top of that, giving up your potentially cost-controlled superstar in RJ Barrett for the privilege of handing Ingram his rookie extension (and thus clogging up your cap for the star-studded 2021 and beyond) just doesn’t seem all that wise. Be patient with acquiring Ingram, it could pay off.

Grade: A hasty C-

Visions of future Shump

Clippers get: Marcus Morris and Reggie Bullock
Knicks get: Jerome Robinson, Mifondu Kabengele, Terrence Mann, Mo Harkless and a second rounder

This is pretty similar to the one trade above, but thanks to the Knicks getting the Lakers and Clippers into a bit of a bidding war, I think I’d try to swing this package with a first rounder as well. If that’s shooting too high, drop one of Robinson or Mann. Give potential new Presidents of Basketball Operations a reason to sign here — a clean cap, and some extra first rounders right from the jump.

Grade: B

Grizzlies get: Wayne Ellington
Knicks get: ’21 Phoenix and Portland second rounders

I added Josh Jackson in just for money purposes in this deal, and he’s about the only dude that works after the Miami-Memphis trade. I actually think the Grizz might be into this. They’re in the midst of an unlikely playoff push, and after adding Justise Winslow from Miami, adding Ellington could really be a move that pushes them into a more comfortable footing in the West playoff race.

Grade: A

Randles punchable face

Clippers get: Marcus Morris
Thunder get: Moe Harkless and Clippers’ first
Knicks get: Dennis Schröder and Patrick Patterson

Do I hate this? Not really. Do I love this? Ditto. Schröder is cool, he’s averaging almost 20 points per game this year and all that. I just don’t know if I’d like to forego getting draft picks and young players in exchange for Morris in the name of getting a flashy point guard that probably won’t actually make the Knicks a better team.

Grade: A very “meh” C


Kings get: Perry and Mills
Knicks get: A pizza (we can always throw the pizza away if it’s no good)

That pizza will end up in the trash. And call me crazy, but I don’t totally hate Perry by himself until proven otherwise. Pass.

Grade: C-


Thunder get: Marcus Morris, Reggie Bullock and Wayne Ellington
Knicks get: Dennis Schröder and Andre Roberson

Similar to the last one, I just don’t think this is good asset management. Morris could net you a first and a young player probably. Ellington might be worth a second. Bullock might even be worth a late first thanks to his affordable contract. So why trade the potential for a few picks for Schröder, who probably won’t make the team much better in the short or long term?

Grade: D


Bucks get: Marcus Morris and Dennis Smith Jr.
Knicks get: Eric Bledsoe and DJ Wilson (or Indiana’s 2020 first)

I feel like I’m on a streak of shitting on trades here, but I just don’t get this one either. Once again, I get the appeal of adding a consistent point guard. It’s been so long! But the Knicks aren’t an Eric Bledsoe away from anything. I actually love the Bucks as a trade partner, but try to get Donte DiVincenzo or someone like that, plus some picks. This trade with the Indy pick is more palatable to me, but still not perfect.

Grade: C


Whew, lots of trades here. Gonna just do quick-hitting answers and leave out the screenshots.

Bulls get: Dennis Smith Jr. or Frank Ntilikina and one of the Dallas firsts
Knicks get: Lauri Markkanen

I like this idea with DSJ, not as much with Frank. For whatever reason the Bulls seem desperate to ditch Lauri. If they’d take DSJ and either of the Dallas firsts (which, let’s face it, will be in the early 20s at best), then I’m all for it.

Pacers get: Mitchell Robinson and Marcus Morris or Julius Randle
Knicks get: Myles Turner

Gonna give this one a big ol’ HELL NAH. Don’t even think Turner is better than Mitch.

Pelicans get: Dennis Smith Jr. or Frank Ntilikina and one of the Dallas firsts
Knicks get: Lonzo Ball

Same as with the Markkanen deal, would do this with DSJ but not Frank. Maybe Frank without the first? But not sure why New Orleans would be motivated to do this.

Timberwolves get: Marcus Morris
Knicks get: Gorgui Dieng and a protected first

Once again, think the Knicks can shoot higher than this for Morris.

Magic get: Julius Randle
Knicks get: Aaron Gordon

Love, love, love this. Gordon is having a down year, but when he’s on, he’s basically Randle with a more consistent 3-point shot and much better defense. Signed on a contract that actually descends in value from around $20 million this year to around $16 million in 2021-22. Easy yes here. Gordon would be great with Mitch.

Thunder get: Bobby Portis
Knicks get: Dennis Schröder

There’s no way in hell the Thunder are this desperate to get out from under Schröder. I’m also tired of typing that damn umlaut over the O.

Heat get: Marcus Morris
Knicks get: Dion Waters and Duncan Robinson

I don’t totally mind this because Robinson seems like a legit knockdown 3-point shooter, but I’d try to milk one or two second rounders too. Take advantage of the Heat going into “fuck it, we’re all in” mode and squeeze them.

No Ds and DNPs

Jazz get: Julius Randle, Elfrid Payton, Wayne Ellington
Knicks get: Mike Conley, Spurs 2022 second round pick, Jazz 2024 first round pick (Top 10 Protected)

It’d be kind of hard to believe for me that the Jazz are that willing to pay to get rid of Mike Conley so shortly after just paying a pretty decent price for him over the offseason, but if they’re into this, I certainly would be too. Conley was injured for a large stretch, but seems to be getting back to his old self. Mostly this one is about eating the final year of his contract next year for a hefty $30-million-plus price tag, but for a couple extra draft assets, sure. The three outgoing players fit pretty well with what Utah has going on, though Randle would probably be best suited coming off the bench there.

Grade: B+, but don’t see it happening


Gonna save some space on screenshots again and quick-hit these ones.

Thunder get: Julius Randle
Knicks get: Dennis Schröder, Nerlens Noel

The one Schröder trade I’d prob be fine with. Not sure OKC would be that into this, though. But if they move Gallinari to the Heat and still feel they need to replace him and think Randle is the answer... sure, why not? Difference of this vs. the other trades is, the Knicks aren’t giving up much value in exchange.

Timberwolves get: DSJ, Portis
Knicks get: Gorgui Dieng, first round pick

Yeah, def with this. Gimme Naz Reid too, I love him.

Sixers get: Elfrid Payton and Allonzo Trier
Knicks get: Zhaire Smith, Mike Scott (buyout), and a second round pick

Seems like a solid return for those two, and opens up playing time for Frank and DSJ (if they stick around). I liked Smith a lot going into the draft process. Sign me up.


Mavericks get: Marcus Morris
Knicks get: Tim Hardaway Jr., and sign him to a max extension

Tim Hardaway Jr. makes too much money to get this done. LMAO.

Grade: Incomplete


New York Liberty get: Bobby Portis
Knicks get: Tina Charles

Tina’s actually having a bit of a down year for the Liberty, but she shot around 35% from three the two years prior to this one. I think she’s worth the risk. Plus, tons of salary cap savings, since Bobby Portis probably makes a whole WNBA team’s salary cap. Ahem.

Grade: A+


Warriors get: Julius Randle, Wayne Ellington or Dennis Smith Jr., DAL 2021 first rounder, right to swap firsts with the Knicks in 2020
Knicks get: D’Angelo Russell

This is the sort of D’Angelo Russell trade that I could absolutely get behind. The question is, would the Warriors? The Knicks and Warriors will almost definitely both be in the bottom five or six teams by the end of the year. Given how chaotic the lottery was last year, maybe the ability to get two stabs at the top pick appeals to Golden State. Plus the extra first, and Julius Randle could probably find a way to thrive as a small-ball 5 there this year and next, because Warriors. I’d make this trade and not really think too hard about it.

Grade: A, but don’t see it happening


Wizards get: Marcus Morris and their pick of the Knicks’ one-year players
Knicks get: John Wall and all of the first and second round picks the Wizards can possibly trade for the next six years

I wouldn’t let them finish the sentence before saying yes.

Grade: A+, but doubt they’re that desperate

Walt Clyde Phraser

Jazz get: Marcus Morris, Bobby Portis and Elfrid Payton
Knicks get: Mike Conley, Ed Davis and Utah’s 2024 first rounder

Similar to the Conley deal above, I’m into this one. I’m still not totally sure the Jazz are willing to pay to trade him so quickly, though. Not when they could probably at least break even with him next year as an expiring contract. That said, I arguably like that 2024 first more than any other first the Knicks could get for Morris. Have to wait on it for longer, but who knows what the future holds? That could be a lotto pick for all we know.

Grade: A-, but again, not likely to me


Blazers get: Marcus Morris and Dennis Smith Jr.
Knicks get: CJ McCollum

You’d need to include some more salary to get this done, but once you did, this is so laughably one-sided that I’d never let the Blazers put down the phone. That said, it’s laughably one-sided. It’s not gonna happen.

Grade: U for Unrealistic

House of Blockness

Someone gets: The whole Knicks team
Knicks get: A bag of Hot and Spicy Doritos

I’m more of a Nacho Cheese guy myself, but this checks out. Deal.

Grade: M for Mmmmmmm, Doritos


Hornets get: Bobby Portis and their choice of Wayne Ellington/Elfrid Payton/Taj Gibson
Knicks get: Nicolas Batum and a top-5 protected 2021 first rounder

I like this a lot, but don’t see why the Hornets would be so desperate to make this move. They’re in rebuilding mode right now, so clearing Batum’s salary next year at the expense of what will likely be a valuable first rounder just doesn’t fit to me. If it’s on the table, obviously take it and let Batum and Frank be besties. But unless the Hornets think there’s a big fish they want in this summer’s shitty free agency class, I don’t see it happening.

Grade: U for Unrealistic

Jesus and Ham on Rye

Warriors get: Marcus Morris, Elfrid Payton and Allonzo Trier
Knicks get: D’Angelo Russell

Simply put, this isn’t enough. Like at all. Even if you could reroute Mook for another first, this wouldn’t be enough.

Grade: N for Nah, they’re not gonna do it


I’ll let the screenshot speak for itself:

You, sir, are a madman.

Grade: M for He’s MAD, I tell you. MAD!

Vin Digestion

Cavaliers get: Julius Randle and Kevin Knox (plus filler, I added Wayne Ellington)
Knicks get: Kevin Love and a first rounder

The Cavs royally suck, and so does Kevin Love’s contract. He’s not aging very gracefully, seems to always be injured and just recently threw a hissy fit on the court. That said, if the Cavs would be willing to give an unprotected first rounder to make this happen... They figure to keep sucking, so why not? The longer you keep Love, if he can maintain some OK level of play, the more valuable he becomes as that contract gets closer to ending. It’s possible you could flip him to a contender a couple years down the line as a floor-spacing big. In the meantime, you also maybe reap another top-10 talent in a couple years’ time, or can use that pick towards a star.

Grade: B+

The Hatter Matter

Timberwolves get: Julius Randle, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Dennis Smith Jr., Bobby Portis, 2021 and 2023 unprotected first rounders and a top-10 protected 2025 first rounder
Knicks get: Karl-Anthony Towns and Gorgui Dieng

So, you wanna know what’s absolutely INSANE about this trade? I actually don’t know if it would be enough. Yes, KAT has been pouting lately. Yes, this is a hell of a package. But the Timberwolves have ALL of the leverage in this situation. KAT is signed for four more years. Maybe he shouldn’t have signed a five-year extension if he was gonna want out in year one? Just a thought. Unfortunately, I don’t think you’re getting KAT without including both RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson, along with a bunch of picks. No thanks, because clearly KAT by himself isn’t enough to influence winning, as evidenced in Minny.

Grade: N for Not enough, and also, Nah


Trailblazers get: Elfrid Payton, Allonzo Trier, Kevin Love, Knicks 2020 first rounder, Knicks 2021 first rounder, Knicks 2023 first rounder (via Dallas)
Cavaliers get: Julius Randle, Wayne Ellington, Dennis Smith Jr., Blazers 2021 first rounder, Blazers 2022 second rounder
Knicks get: Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic

Boiiiiiii, you are a WILD ONE. And I’m not gonna lie, if there was ever an offer to get Dame out of Portland and send them into a rebuild, this might be the one. Even with Dame on board, a weak free agent class this summer means the Knicks won’t be big game hunting until 2021 at the earliest for a free agent partner for Dame. That means the Blazer get a top-10 pick this year, and likely a top-20 pick next year (or possibly better). I just don’t know about them still wanting Love with Dame gone, but maybe they try to fake contend with McCollum/Love/Melo for a year or two and then plunge into the rebuild after that. I was ready to hate on this, but the more I think of it, it weirdly makes sense for a Blazers team that’s struggling to keep its head above water in the West.

Grade: A surprising A+

A few quick hitters from the Twittersphere:

Like I said above, not enough. The Knicks have basically no leverage in a Towns trade right now.

Grade: T for Too little, bub

This is not even close to enough, but if it’s on the table, duh.

Grade: H for Bob Myer’s gonna HANG up the phone

I was intrigued by Bol Bol before last year’s draft, but he’s had nebulous injuries this year and hasn’t even suited up yet. His frame is scary thin, too. If you could somehow snaggle Michael Porter Jr., then sure. Otherwise, just go get a first rounder and a player that’s actually on the court.

Grade: D

Only if the Timberwolves let the Knicks redeem a first rounder with their Coca Cola points.

Grade: D

And with that, this marathon of a trade mailbag has reached its conclusion! Thanks so much to everyone that submitted trades. Hope y’all enjoyed the show. Now kick back and let’s enjoy the real show of the trade deadline.