clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

No, the Knicks still can’t afford to trade Immanuel Quickley

The Knicks have signed guards, but they haven’t replaced IQ.

NBA: Playoffs-New York Knicks at Miami Heat Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks made a few moves this past weekend, trading Obi Toppin and signing Donte DiVincenzo. With DiVincenzo in the fold, and Josh Hart opting in, the Knicks appear to have a glut of like-sized players who need minutes next season. I tend to think that complaint is overblown — several of those guys play bigger than their size — but it certainly seems that another consolidation trade may be in the offing.

If the Knicks are going to move some more players, who will be the next to go? Many Knicks fans have turned their eyes to Immanuel Quickley as the most likely candidate. The thinking goes thusly:

  • Quickley is about to get paid.
  • Jalen Brunson makes Quickley superfluous.

I have no insider information on Leon Rose’s thought process, but I would like push back on this idea that Quickley should be the odd man out among the non-Brunson perimeter guys, including Hart, DiVincenzo, RJ Barrett and Quentin Grimes. In fact, I would argue that Quickley is the most irreplaceable Knick in this particular quintet. Let us try to remember all the ways in which he contributed to the team’s success last season.

Trying to pin down Immanuel Quickley’s role with the 2022-23 Knicks is nearly impossible to do in one sentence. He was a bench player, but he also started 21 games — a fact which the Boston media machine used to deny him the Sixth Man of the Year award. Even when he wasn’t starting, he was in the Knicks’ closing lineups. He manned the point guard position whenever Brunson was hurt — and did a spectacular job — but he also started four games alongside Brunson when RJ was injured. In fact, he was arguably Brunson’s most effective backcourt partner — the duo of Brunson and Quickley posted an incredible +9.1 net rating in 972 minutes. He finished third on the team in win shares, behind Brunson and Julius Randle. With the exception of Hart, a trade deadline acquisition, he led all Knicks in on/off rating (+8.6). He captained the defense while on the court, directing teammates on proper positioning.

Yes, Quickley was terrible on offense in the playoffs. But even his worst stretch of the season shows how valuable he is to the team. The Knicks’ talented bench players — Hart, Obi, Isaiah Hartenstein — were rendered pretty much useless when IQ struggled. He is the glue that holds that unit together.

So how do the Knicks replace all that? The answer, friends, is that they don’t. They can’t. I love Miles McBride, but he hasn’t shown he can step in and fill Quickley’s shoes. DiVincenzo is a great pickup, and he’ll make a real difference on the bench, but can he run that unit? No. Can he replace an injured Brunson at PG, play 55 minutes, and lead the team to a double-overtime win in Boston? Of course not. He’s an excellent bench player, but he’s not Immanuel Quickley. There are very few Immanuel Quickley types in the NBA.

I’m not crazy — I would certainly include IQ in a trade for a legitimate star. But many of these names I see bandied about social media in trade proposals are not legit NBA stars. Also, I find it funny that many fans of the New York Knicks, a team that lacked halfway-decent point guard play for most of the last three decades, are now suddenly so willing to just toss an excellent young point guard (and a few first-round picks) into the pot for just about any above-average NBA player. If the right star player isn’t on the trading block this summer, Immanuel Quickley shouldn’t even be mentioned in trade talks.