Tis the time of rumors, folks.
The New York Knicks got the trade party started back on Dec. 30 when they pulled off the first big-time transaction of the season by trading for OG Anunoby, sending Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett north of the border.
Maybe the Toronto Raptors see themselves as the bigger-time players, however, considering it took them just a few days following that first move to go ahead and dump franchise player Pascal Siakam on Indiana.
No matter what, the thing is that the stove is finally heating up. Speaking of heat... may I let you know Miami just traded for Charlotte Hornets’ guard Terry Rozier while sending Kyle Lowry the other way as he now (most probably) waits to get bought out after the Feb. 8 deadline. Will the Knicks pounce on adding this extraordinarily washed veteran? Hope not!
Former Knicks GM Scott Perry might not be a general manager anymore, but he surely got the itch amid the flurry of rumors going left and right, thus jumping on SNY’s Ian Begley podcast The Putback on Wednesday, Jan. 24, offering some advice to the New York Knickerbockers ahead of the trade deadline (7:00 minute mark).
“I would be focused on trying to find somebody to fill that role [coming] off the bench. Someone who can score, capable of getting 20 points if needed. Also not sacrifice the integrity of your game defensively,” Perry reasoned.
“The name that stands out most to me, obviously, is Alec Burks because he’s been there in the locker room—the players know him,” he added. “He would seem to be more of a seamless fit.”
Burks was traded to the Pistons by the very own Knicks in the summer of 2022 along with Nerlens Noel and a couple of second-round picks in a salary dump move to create $19 million room in cap space to land Jalen Brunson in free agency.
Since joining Detroit, Burks has played 88 games through Wednesday including 51 last year and 37 this season. In this campaign, Burks is averaging around 12 PPG, 5 RPG, and nearly 3 APG while shooting 39.1/40.2/89.5.
Aged 32, Burks is playing on an expiring deal after the Pistons exercised a team option last June to keep him around for another year instead of losing him for nothing. Burks has been one of the many Pistons long rumored to be available, but no move has happened with fewer than two weeks between now and the deadline.
Perry went on to compare Burks with some other players linked to the Knicks, most prominently new Toronto Raptors guard Bruce Brown.
“A guy like Bruce Brown—and I love Bruce Brown’s game—I think he’s tough. He physically fits a lot of places, but he’s a little more of a duplication for what the Knicks already have in guys like Josh Hart, Donte DiVincenzo, and Quentin Grimes,” Perry explained, saying those players are “more defensive-oriented” and “not guys who really create off the bounce.”
As the former GM sees it, “Burks can do that. He can create his own shot, doesn’t cost as much, and he’s played for [head coach Tom Thibodeau] already.”
That last one is a more than fair, interesting point for the Knicks to consider. Burks was part of the 2021 postseason Knicks even though they crashed out of the postseason quickly, falling 4-1 to the Atlanta Hawks in the first round that year. Burks appeared in all five games then (playing all of them as a reserve), logging 25 MPG and averaging a 14-5-2 line shooting 42.9% from the floor and 33.3% from three.
“Burks knows the system,” Perry kept going. “Again, when you make trades in the middle of the season, you’re not only taking on a player’s statistics and his abilities, but you take it on to personality. To me, if you have a known quantity that you could get back in your locker room, that will be the ideal thing to do.”
Finished Perry: “If Alec Burks is in fact available, he will be someone that I think would fit seamlessly in what the Knicks are trying to do right now.”
In his last season with the Knicks in 2022, per Basketball-Reference.com, Burks spent a very evenly split 35/35/30 percent of his minutes at the point guard, shooting guard, and small forward positions respectively after not logging minutes at the point in his first season in New York.
The Knicks outscored opponents by an average of 5.8 points per 100 possessions with Burks on the court compared to when he was on the bench.
According to Pistons’ beat reporter James L. Edwards III of The Athletic, in a story posted earlier this morning, “While Detroit may be more willing to part with veterans [Bojan] Bogdanovic and Alec Burks than they were a year ago, the Pistons are not actively shopping either player, per league sources.”
If those sources are right, then the Pistons “believe they have a chance to retain [Burks] this summer,” as he will enter the free agent market next July. Edwards, however, wrote, “I get the sense that two really good second-round picks, at minimum, would cause Detroit to consider a move before the deadline.”
Entering Thursday, the Knicks would own the no. 18 (via DAL), no. 22 (own pick), and no. 44 (via UTA) draft picks in the upcoming 2024 NBA Draft, per Tankathon.
All scenarios considered, the Knicks could have as many as four first-round picks in the 2024 draft. That’s a little bit unlikely considering a couple of those picks are top-12 (Washington) and top-18 (Detroit) protected, but still.
Per ESPN, the Knicks have the following draft assets in their war chest:
- Own first-round picks in 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027, 2028, 2029, 2030
- Protected first-round picks from Dallas, Detroit, Washington, and Milwaukee
- Second-round picks: 11 between 2024 and 2030
Should the Knicks make it a reunion in New York? Should they aim higher? Many questions, less than 15 days for an answer.