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REPORT: Knicks actively looking to move Quentin Grimes. Here’s why.

Quentin Grimes’ rollercoaster with the Knicks might be reaching its conclusion.

New York Knicks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Today, Stefan Bondy of the New York Post wrote ($) about the Quentin Grimes situation. According to Bondy, Grimes is frustrated by his decline in playing time with the New York Knicks. Despite hope that the situation would be resolved after trading RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley, Grimes has yet to see an increase in minutes.

Bondy tells about Grimes getting prematurely yanked during Monday’s loss to the Orlando Magic:

Clearly frustrated after just a four-minute shift, Grimes ran past the Knicks bench and beelined into the Garden tunnel. Replays showed Grimes returning about a minute later and sitting near the end of the bench, where he absorbed the rest of a 98-94 defeat.

He played 14 total minutes with eight points, then left the locker room before the media was allowed inside.

The article states that the Knicks are actively trying to trade Grimes before the Feb. 8 trade deadline. The front office hopes to add a ballhandler and a big man in potential trades, with a focus on multi-year deals. The Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks are mentioned as potential suitors with an interest in Grimes.

Grimes was valuable for the Knicks last season but saw a decline in opportunities after the acquisition of Donte DiVincenzo this past summer. He started as shooting guard for his first 18 games this season, but after venting to the press about his negligible role in the offense, he was supplanted by DiVincenzo in the first five. Here’s Bondy again:

He finally unloaded his frustration to the media in early December, and was promptly moved to the bench because it was seen as a better chance for offensive creativity away from the ball-dominant starters (specifically Jalen Brunson, Randle and Barrett).

Over 18 games as a starter this season, Grimes averaged 5.8 points and 1.2 assists while shooting 36% from the floor and 35% from deep. Not exactly barn-burning numbers. Since joining the bench, he has averaged 8.2 points and shot 43% from deep on 4.7 attempts per game.

In his 21 games as a starter, DiVincenzo has averaged 12.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.6 assists while shooting 42% from downtown on almost seven attempts per game. Seems better, no?

With his strong defensive fundamentals and shooting stroke, Grimes was once considered an ideal Tom Thibodeau player. Why might Thibs have soured on the young guard?

There’s also speculation that Thibodeau soured on Grimes for sitting out the last two games in the playoff series against the Cavaliers because of a shoulder injury.

At first I’m inclined to respond with the rote, “Thibs gonna Thibs!” Yet, Thibodeau gave Grimes a lot of rope this season—18 games worth, to be exact. While the prickly coach might have been miffed about Grimes’ absence during the Cavs’ series, let’s apply Occam’s razor and blame this season’s demotion on unsatisfactory stats instead. Besides, we all remember Grimes’ one-legged defense against Jimmy Butler in the second round, and that was enough to absolve him of a multitude of sins.

There are financial concerns around Grimes’ situation. He will be eligible for a contract extension soon and limited playing time negatively affects his potential earnings. Bondy observes that Josh Hart’s $81 million deal set a precedent that makes it reasonable for Grimes to expect something in that neighborhood. And let’s not forget that the Knicks traded away Immanuel Quickley who is expected to sign a lucrative deal in restricted free agency.

Bondy proposes two trades. The first is with the Hawks (Grimes and Evan Fournier for Clint Capela) and the second is with the Heat (Grimes and Fournier for Kyle Lowry and Haywood Highsmith). Neither one of those proposals is as appealing as the trade suggested by Brew Hoop here (hint: Dejounte Murray is involved). Meh. You might feel differently.

One thing is clear. With RJ Barrett, Quickley, and Obi Toppin gone, and Quentin Grimes evidently on the move, the Knicks seem to be mostly finished with their young player development phase. (Obviously Miles McBride remains on the team, but he might be hiding in his locker from the Grim Reaper right now.) Leon Rose & Co. appear to be advancing to the next stage of their diabolical plan for NBA domination, in which they construct a turn-key championship team for Joel Embiid, Devin Booker, or your favorite flavor of star to join and win. And winning is what we want! Right?

Then why do I feel so conflicted about casting off the kids? Must be a sap. Anyway, go Knicks.