We’re just four days from celebrating the one-month anniversary of the franchise-altering OG Anunoby trade in New York.
We’re also less than two weeks from crossing the trade deadline date on Feb. 8, which means things are starting to heat up in the rumor mill while front office folks are burning smartphone batteries day and night getting in touch with everybody else around the Association.
In the past few days, (mostly) two fine lads from SNY (Ian Begley) and Yahoo (Jake Fischer) have blessed us with another round of intel based on what they’ve been fed by league executives and other people plugged into the inner workings of all 30 NBA franchises.
Things can get old quickly when it comes to trades and rumors, so here’s a quick update on what has been shared with the free world by these two folks and some others at other publishing platforms.
Quentin Grimes on the chopping block and generating buzz
First things first, the Knicks seem to be determined to move Quentin Grimes away in a trade before Feb. 8 or next summer.
Two weeks ago, we first heard about New York’s interest in trading third-yeard guard Grimes, so much so that the franchise was reportedly actively shopping and offering Grimes in trade packages.
According to SNY’s Ian Begley, the Knicks “have taken calls on Grimes as they approach the deadline.” Begley added an interesting nugget not quite known until he shared the intel, naming the Atlanta Hawks, Washington Wizards, and Utah Jazz “among the teams with interest in Grimes.”
This is interesting because the Knicks have shown interest in trading from players currently rostered by those franchises in the past few days and weeks, per multiple reports.
To varying extents but to quickly summarize:
- Supposedly targeted Hawks: Dejounte Murray, AJ Griffin, Clint Capela
- Supposedly targeted Wizards: Tyus Jones, Daniel Gafford
- Supposedly targeted Jazz: Jordan Clarkson, Kelly Olynyk
Grimes spoke to SNY last Thursday after the Knicks beat the Nuggets, telling them “I’ve kind of been in trade rumors since my rookie year. So I just try to come in every day, do my job, be professional.
“Rumors are going to happen. I just step on the court and try to do everything to help this team win.”
Grimes is under contract for one more season after this one (team option). He’s earning around $2.4 million this year and that figure will go up to $4.3 million next offseason once the 2024-25 option gets exercised by New York.
It’s worth noting that Grimes and the Knicks will find themselves in the situation the franchise was in last October when it had to deal with Immanuel Quickley’s extension. The two options are extending Grimes to a multi-year deal (the deadline to sign that extension will come by the end of Oct. 2024) or keeping him under his current rookie-scale deal before he becomes a restricted free agent in July 2025.
The Knicks and IQ failed to reach a deal last year and that led to New York trading Quickley to Toronto on Dec. 30 as part of the package sent to the Raptors in exchange for OG Anunoby.
Daniel Gafford back on New York Knicks radar?
In the same report, Begley brought back a familiar player that had not been discussed that much of late in Wizards center Daniel Gafford.
Even though the Knicks have one of, if not the best center rotations in the NBA, the truth is that with both Mitchell Robinson (out until the end of the regular season assuming he makes a comeback) and Isaiah Hartenstein (day-to-day) out, the depth chart reads C1 Jericho Sims, C2 Precious Achiuwa. In other words: not great!
A few days ago I wrote a column in which I highlighted four players that all/most reputable insiders out there have linked to the Knicks in potential trades before the deadline in overlapping reports with information coming from similar and different sources. Gafford made the list.
On Friday, Begley revealed sources confirmed to him the Knicks “have Wizards big man Daniel Gafford on their radar.”
Per Begley, “the interest in Gafford comes while New York is dealing with injuries to Isaiah Hartenstein and Mitchell Robinson,” as “there is some concern over Hartenstein’s health and his availability moving forward.”
Adding a point guard still a New York Knicks priority
Following the third pre-deadline trade (after Toronto moved OG and Pascal Siakam) involving the Miami Heat and two-guard Terry Rozier formerly of the Charlotte Hornets, the point guard market seems to be (re)shaping ahead of the Feb. 8 deadline.
The Heat added Rozier to their roster by sending a protected first-round pick and veteran point guard Kyle Lowry (who won’t be playing until he gets bought out by mid-February) the other way, potentially informing other franchises about the state of the trade market and what they can expect to demand or be requested to submit when trading for a fellow playmaker.
Rozier signed a four-year deal in 2022 and is in the second year of that contract earning a hefty $23.2 million this season with guaranteed salaries nearing the $25 million figure in the next two years.
New York is seemingly looking to trade for someone under contract at least for next season, according to Fred Katz of The Athletic, as well as capable of “running the offense when Jalen Brunson is hurt or resting.”
Jake Fischer of Yahoo wrote a piece on Friday touching on many point guards around the league that might move places before mid-February, revealing the price of a few players at the position according to sources in touch with NBA front offices.
All second-tier trade targets at the point (Wizards Tyus Jones, Blazers Malcolm Brogdon, and Raptors Bruce Brown Jr.) are expected to fetch their franchises “at least a first-round pick,” per sources talking to Yahoo.
At a higher level, the Atlanta Hawks are “searching for two first-round picks and a starting-caliber player” to part with Dejounte Murray (emphasis mine).
You bet the Knicks aren’t walking that path, not only because they are most probably not that much interested in Murray’s skill set/fit next to Brunson, but also because it’s hard to see the Hawks accepting Grimes, Fournier, and two first-round picks as their preferred package.
According to Fischer, the Los Angeles Lakers have seemingly submitted an offer already to the Hawks including D’Angelo Russell, the 2019 first-round pick, a pick swap, and salary filler. How that package compares to anything New York can offer, you (and the Hawks) be the judge.
Fischer also cites a bunch of Jazz players as available in the trade market, most prominently Jordan Clarkson, Collin Sexton, and Talen Horton-Tucker. No rumors linking the latter two to the Knicks, but a whole load related to the former Sixth Man of the Year and microwave scorer. The Jazz are “considered both a buyer and seller,” however, which might make things difficult to trade for any of their players in terms of the price they might tag some players at.
Finally, Fischer added a few names to the list of point guards “known to be available” that we had not heard of at any point before as we get closer to Feb. 8: Davion Mitchell (Kings), Cameron Payne (Bucks), Devonte’ Graham (Spurs), and Cory Joseph (Warriors).