Since the Donovan Mitchell trade chatter began this summer, young Quentin Grimes has been identified as the player that the Utah Jazz most want from New York Knicks in a package for their All-Star guard.
Naturally. Who wouldn’t want Grimes (6’5”, 205 lbs), a fits-with-anybody shooting guard-slash-small forward who averaged 40% from the field, 38% from deep, plays excellent defense, has promising handles, and most recently balled out in Summer League play?.
Picked 25th, the 22-year-old is considered one of the steals of the 2021-22 NBA Draft.
And yet, are we certain that Grimes is a deal breaker, the player who Jazz CEO Danny Ainge absolutely must acquire via a Donovan Mitchell trade with the Knicks? While there’s no doubt he desires the sophomore, I’m not convinced that another guard is what Danny needs.
Check out the Jazz’s depth chart at ESPN.com. You’ll see some gaps that Ainge will want to fill before the season starts, specifically at power forward and center. That leads one to believe that Ainge might prefer Obi Toppin, who is a natural fit at PF and can also play small-ball center.
Basketball-Reference.com lists Toppin at 6’9”, 220 lbs. However, it also lists Cam Reddish at 6’8”, 218 lbs. They’re virtually identical! Perhaps, Danny, instead of Obi, we can interest you in Cam instead?
Originally drafted by the Atlanta Hawks and then traded to New York last season, Reddish is a rangy wing with a career 10.5/3.2/1.3 slash line who shoots 39% from the floor, and 33% from deep.
Back in 2019, Trae Young praised the Hawks’ 10th selection from the draft. “He’s, in my opinion, the most talented rookie who came out, as far as skills-wise offensively,” said Young. “It’s unbelievable. He can do it all. He can score on all three levels. I’m looking forward to playing with him because he’s going to be able to contribute a lot.”
Here’s Cam working out in May 2019:
Cam Reddish clearly the most naturally gifted player to take the floor today. Tantalizing at 6-8 with a smooth jumper. Shoots such an easy ball. pic.twitter.com/KD0zBgtJj8— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) May 22, 2019
Unfortunately, the former Duke Blue Devil has yet to develop into a reliable NBA starter. The poor fella played for three coaches over three years, which can muddle matters. Some argue that Reddish hasn’t been given enough time, and he certainly didn’t get many minutes under Tom Thibodeau—Cam appeared in only 15 games for New York in an injury-shortened season.
Ironically, the desire for more floor time is what brought Reddish to the Big Apple, since he’d asked the former general manager and current team president Travis Schlenk for a trade. Said Schlenk, “He wouldn’t be the first player that didn’t have an All-Star career with the team that drafted him. I wish nothing but the best for Cam. I have no ill will towards him at all.”
“I thought [Cam] handled it the right way,” added current Atlanta head coach Nate McMillan. “He didn’t make a big deal about it in the press. He told us how he felt and what he wanted and he tried to go out and be professional and play.”
Danny, you’re gonna love his professionalism! Pay no attention to this quote by Chris Fedor, beat writer for the Cleveland Cavaliers, taken from his appearance on the Wine and Gold Talk podcast in January: “I was told that though the Cavs had expressed interest in Cam Reddish in the past, and they checked in on his availability with the Atlanta Hawks… one thing that I’m told from a source is that the intel that they got back was not flattering when it came to Cam Reddish.”
“He seduces you with the things he does,’’ is what Seth Greenberg told Marc Berman. “But he doesn’t do those things on a consistent basis. He should be a really good defender but he’s not consistent. He looks like he should be a good shotmaker but doesn’t shoot with consistency. He doesn’t play through contact the way you’d like to see him play through contact. Those are the ‘ifs’ in his game.”
Forget all that slander, Dan-O, and focus on Cam’s 7’1” wingspan. It’s up to you to unlock his shot-blocking potential. And Cam, still only 22 years old, wants to succeed. “I’m still trying to learn, I really am,” he told the media after joining New York. “I’m still trying to figure it all out.”
Listen, Danny, I understand if you still want Toppin because he’s built more like a traditional power forward. Last season for the Knicks, Obi averaged nine points and 3.1 rebounds on 53% shooting from the floor and 31% from deep. Those aren’t eye-popping numbers, but his electrifying dunks—he won the 2022 Slam Dunk title—plus a 500 HP motor and abundant charisma make him a fan favorite. If he lasts the season, I predict he will have the best-selling Knicks jersey of the 2022-23 campaign. And this dude would agree:
Tom Archdeacon arranged for Mark Haufe and his Obi tattoo to meet Obi Toppin on Sunday at UD Arena. pic.twitter.com/cqu3y49CuQ— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) July 26, 2022
It is extremely rare for a player to spend his entire career on one team, but if Obi, a native New Yorker, can stick it out, he’ll be regarded as one of the most beloved Knicks ever. Most of us here like Cam, too, or at least want to give him a chance, but should it come down to him or Obi, give me the dunker.
If reports can be believed, the Heat are even further removed from a Mitchell trade. The Raptors are sniffing around Utah’s 6’1” Mets fan, but according to Aaron Rose at SI.com:
Utah had previously inquired about OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. during talks surrounding Rudy Gobert, per HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto. Toronto would likely have to part with one of the two wings along with multiple first-round draft picks in order to acquire Mitchell from the rebuilding Jazz. Based on Ujiri’s season-ending press conference and his disinterest in big changes this summer, a deal of that magnitude seems highly unlikely.
Unlikely seems to be the operative word. So, once again, it seems like the Knicks have the best offering. What do you say, Dan? A few picks, Evan Fournier to match salary, and Cam Reddish for Donovan Mitchell? Let’s get it done.