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NBA Trade Rumors: Knicks checked on Josh Hart

Solid player, but not really what the Knicks need

NBA: New York Knicks at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

We’re less than 24 hours away from the trade deadline so obviously that means more updates on the Knicks’ hottest commodity, Cam Reddish. Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, and many more teams have done their due diligence and checked in with the Knicks on their young but out-of-rotation player. And it was reported earlier today that Portland has joined those teams after touching base on a potential deal.

The 26-28 Trail Blazers make for a complicated albeit interesting trade partner since it seems like there isn’t a consensus on what people think they’ll do and want moving forward. They are a team that surely wants to put a contending roster around the explosive yet aging Damian Lillard, but they must also be thinking about the benefits of shipping out as many veterans as possible and trying to retool, if not rebuild completely around the likes of Anfernee Simons and Shadeon Sharpe.

One player that could help a deal get done between these two teams is the Trail Blazers’ Josh Hart. New York had been rumored to be interested in Hart in the past and is reportedly taking another look at him. The veteran wing has the potential to remedy some of the Knicks’ second-unit scoring struggles, but that potential comes with a big caveat.

Despite being a career 34.3% three-point shooter on 3.9 attempts per game, Hart is currently shooting just 30.4% on 2.2 attempts per game. Hart, who is a close friend and a college teammate of Jalen Brunson’s, would give the Knicks some added toughness along with defense, rebounding, and playmaking off the bench, but unless he turns things around from the outside, his shooting, or lack thereof, would only amplify the Knicks’ biggest weakness. Hart could, with a change of scenery, experience some positive reversal, but he shouldn’t be the Knicks’ first choice if they are looking for some bench shooting.

That said, if New York cannot find a way to acquire Malik Beasley, Grayson Allen, or Eric Gordon, all of whom are better marksmen than Hart, then the former Villanova Wildcat wouldn’t be the worst consolation prize. One thing that may worry fans, though, is how much Thibodeau may like and, in turn, over utilize Hart. He fits the “high effort, team-first, defensive wing player” that Thibodeau has been over-reliant on historically, and there could be drama about how the coach distributes minutes between the wings. Stay tuned.