Trade season is right around the corner.
Teams can start trading recently signed, or re-signed, players on December 15. In the past, the New York Knicks have jumped into action early in the trading season. They swapped Dennis Smith, Jr. and a 2021, 2nd-round draft pick (Isaiah Livers was later selected) for Derrick Rose in February 2021, well ahead of the deadline. Last season, they acquired Cam Reddish, well before the trade window closed.
According to Fred Katz of The Athletic, the Knicks have been taking calls. (Paywalled) He writes, “The most-common players they have discussed with other teams are, in no particular order: Immanuel Quickley, Evan Fournier, Rose and Reddish.”
It is unsurprising to see those names mentioned. Reddish and the veterans, Fournier and Rose, are all out of coach Tom Thibodeau’s rotation.
Quickley, a third-year guard with a lot of energy and an inconsistent shot, has shown potential to be an effective sixth man, yet he may prove more valuable to New York as a trade chip.
The Knicks have a lot of guards on the roster, and this season Quickley is down in minutes (22.8 per game) and shot attempts (8.3). His three-point shooting is down to 31%, and his free-throw accuracy is at a career-low at 84%. Still, he can be a harassing defender, which compensates for the offensive inconsistency.
Katz reports that New York seeks a future first-round pick in a straight-up deal for him.
Quickley is on an affordable contract until he hits free agency in 2024. He could receive an extension this season. The Knicks aren’t financially compelled to move him, but might be wise to act now rather than wait to see if a) his numbers continue to decline and reduce his trade value, b) his number improve and he decides to test the free agency market.
Fournier is the Knicks’ single-season three-point record holder (241) whose intermittent defense mostly cancels out his offensive prowess. He is also inked to a contract that guarantees him $36.9 million over this and next season. Evan was relegated to the bench on November 15 and hasn’t returned to action since. He is staying nice and healthy, and will be ready to plug into a playoff contender, should one decide to pursue him.
The Knicks seem unlikely to let Fournier drift for nothing. Since he sits comfortably on the pine and no longer eats up playing time, their motivation to rush a deal is nil.
According to Katz, “Eliminating Fournier’s salary from next season’s books wouldn’t do much for 2023 flexibility.” The Knicks have a surfeit of players who are guaranteed money in 2023-24, so they’ll be up against the salary cap regardless.
Given his age and injury history, interest in Rose is limited. There was talk recently that the Dallas Mavericks might be interested in taking on the 34-year-old, former MVP. Why not? They already have about a dozen ex-Knicks on their roster and recently signed Kemba Walker. Of the names mentioned, I predict he will be the first player dealt.
Cam Reddish’s time in New York has been a rollercoaster. After arriving in January, he was employed sparingly through 15 games before being lost to a season-ending injury. He gave an atrocious effort throughout this past preseason and many fans expected him to be shipped out for peanuts, post haste. But wait! He kept playing and turned in some fine performances through the first quarter of the season, which caused many doubters to about-face and join the Cam-hive.
He started eight games in a row and logged three 32+ minute games before being sidelined with an injury toward the end of November. While Cam was out, Quentin Grimes settled into the starting two-guard spot, which shifted Reddish to the second unit. Since Cam’s return, his minutes and performance have declined. He was a healthy DNP for the Knicks’ last contest, for good reason—since returning to the bench squad, he has not looked especially thrilled to play basketball.
If they deal Cam, will New York get an equal return on their investment? Seems unlikely. They swapped a first-rounder and Kevin Knox for him. Still, Cam was worth a look, because he is a valuable contributor when locked in and disciplined. He might excel on a team that needs a long wing who can drive, shoot a bit, and has demonstrated defensive competency.
Stay tuned. There is sure to be much more smoke to come before the trade doors unofficially open next week.