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Knicks and Jazz destined to make a trade? NBA Insiders think so

Jordan Clarkson? Collin Sexton? Kelly Olynyk? Many options are available!

Dallas Mavericks v Utah Jazz Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

The Knicks are coming off a weekend in which they opened a roster spot by waiving veteran big man and living legend Taj Gibson—who could be back in an assistant coach position soon.

The transaction allowed the Knicks to free a spot in their 15-man squad ahead of the Feb. 8 trade deadline, opening the door for two-for-one and three-for-two trades during the next few weeks, thus gaining a bit of flexibility in negotiations with other franchises, as we discussed on Monday.

Coincidentally (or not), ESPN’s Brian Windhors and fellow pundit Tim MacMahon shared the stage in the latest episode of the Hoop Collective podcast on Monday and they touched on a few topics, including potential Knicks targets ahead of the deadline.

Tim MacMahon was the one floating a couple of options New York might want to dig deeper and give a try with less than a month for the final trade-buzzer: Utah Jazz heaters Jordan Clarkson and Collin Sexton.

According to TMM, the extension signed by Decue McBride after the OG trade didn’t really signify anything (“Let’s not act like it was a huge bet,” he said) and it shouldn’t put any roadblock in the pursuit of another bench scorer between now and the second Thursday of February.

“The Knicks’ front office needs to be on the phone canvasing the trade market, finding other potential replacements for Immanuel Quickley in the rotation,” MacMahon started. “If I’m them, I’m on the phone with the Utah Jazz talking Jordan Clarkson, talking Collin Sexton.”

Clarkson, 31, is a career 44/33/83 shooter through 688 games since entering the league all the way back in June 2014 as a member of the Lakers and sporting no visible ink. This season (and for a few years now) Clarkson has been a microwave scorer off the Jazz pine, bagging 17.2 points per game while contributing 5.1 assists a pop.

The veteran Filipino signed a three-year, $55 million extension with the Jazz last July after inking his first deal with Utah back in 2020 and finding a place where he blossomed into a Sixth Man of the Year winner that season.

Sexton, who turned 25 last week, aligns better with the age of the majority of the players currently rostered by the Knicks although he’s not a playmaker in the sense of prioritizing dishing dimes over dropping buckets.

The former Cav boasts 46/37/83 shooting splits throughout his 303-game career and this season he’s scoring 15.9 PPG to go with 3.9 APG in 37 games, starting 14 of those.

Sexton is in the second year of a $71 million, four-year contract following a sign-and-trade from Cleveland as part of the Donovan Mitchell trade that the Knicks decided to remove themselves from a couple of years ago.

MacMahon’s partner in crime, Brian Windhorst, brought up the whole Klutch vs. Knicks beef to the table and he made it sound like there will be no problems in the franchise trading/signing players represented by Rich Paul’s agency if that’s what benefits all parties involved.

He offered an alternative example—one much more serious and with potentially more damaging repercussions on the organizations involved in it— than just a dumb beef between two sports agencies: the ongoing legal batter between New York and Toronto.

“The Knicks just did a deal with the Raptors, who were suing them and vice-versa,” Windy said. “In the NBA, you have to do business with who you do business with. You can’t hold grudges like that. It’s just never going to get you anywhere.”

Of course, that’s always going to be an interesting topic of discussion if only from the outside as many of the Knicks’ rumored targets, including Clarkson, Sexton, Malcolm Brogdon, and Dejounte Murray, are represented by Klutch Sports and signed to Rich Paul’s agency.

Finally, another NBA Insider long-time hoops reporter Marc Stein ($) pointed to Jazz’s big man Kelly Olynyk as another name that should be on the Knicks’ radar after losing Mitchell Robinson to injury, although he reported on that potential interest before the Knicks acquired Precious Achiuwa as part of the OG Anunoby trade with the Raptors.

“The 6-foot-11 Olynyk, who turns 33 in April, would seemingly make sense as a trade target for the Knicks as well given New York’s acute need for size in the wake of Mitchell Robinson’s ankle injury that is feared to be season-ending,” Stain wrote on Christmas Day.

However, Stein also mentioned the Boston Celtics’ interest in Olynyk. “League sources say Boston is among the teams that is monitoring Utah’s Kelly Olynyk in advance of a potential trade pursuit,” he revealed.

The Knicks should not really entertain adding another big unless any of Sims/Achiuwa suffer a long-term injury, and in fact, they seem to be pleased with the current backup rotation after waiving Gibson last weekend.

That, along with Isaiah Hartenstein’s breakout since being named the starter ahead of Sims, should be enough to rule out any trade for the Jazz big man.

Clarkson or Sexton, though, would make for a fine firepower-shooting addition to a second unit that has lacked some punch since it bid farewell to Immanuel Quickley at the end of December. The defensive prowess any of these two would bring to New York, however, is nothing I’d be too excited about...