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Knicks Trade Deadline 101: Most likely targets, plans, buyout market?

Here is everything you need to know about the New York Knicks trade deadline strategy for Thursday.

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Toronto Raptors v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Calm before the storm? The NBA transaction log stayed reasonably quiet through Wednesday with just a few minor trades happening on trade deadline eve as the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Memphis Grizzlies, Detroit Pistons, and Utah Jazz completed a few moves ahead of Thursday’s climax.

The Knicks stand pat entering Thursday and barring their early-season OG Anunoby trade they have not completed any other transaction outside of bringing back veteran big man Taj Gibson if only to bolster a depleted rotation ravaged by injuries.

The near-consensus expectation among NBA insiders is that New York will complete at least one more trade before 3 pm ET today when the NBA will impose a trade ban until next June with bought-out players the only ones allowed to change teams after today’s deadline.

Here is P&T's final rumor roundup ahead of the deadline with the latest information and whispers reported in the past few hours involving potential Knicks trades that we might see come to fruition later today.

Bruce Brown Jr. (Toronto Raptors)

One of the most talked-about players as potential New York Knicks targets has already been traded once before this season after signing a two-year deal with a new team last July following a championship run with the Denver Nuggets in the summer of 2023.

Bruce Brown, who signed the aforementioned deal with the Indiana Pacers, was moved to Toronto in the Pascal Siakam trade last month and he is expected to be re-routed by the Raptors before today’s deadline.

  • The Raptors are seemingly trying to move Brown amid their ongoing rebuild and some heavily-linked suitors to the versatile guard are the Knicks and Lakers.
  • Brown is earning $22 million this season with a team option attached to his deal for the upcoming campaign. He could be swapped for Evan Fournier ($19 million) in a one-for-one deal.
  • The Raptors, however, are looking to get some draft compensation in return, namely a first-round pick or at the very least multiple second-round selections.
  • According to Ian Begley of SNY, “a new wrinkle emerged on the New York Knicks‘ pursuit of Bruce Brown,” as the Raptors might be “looking to expand the trade framework.” Per Begley, Toronto is trying to add veteran center Chris Boucher to the Bruce Brown package. That, however, can’t happen without a third team landing Boucher as Brown has already been traded so he cannot be aggregated in a multi-player package sent to a single team.
  • What seems clear is that the Knicks won’t be sending Quentin Grimes to Toronto. According to Fred Katz of The Athletic, Grimes “hasn’t been part of [Brown’s trade conversations]. Instead, discussions have centered around Evan Fournier and draft compensation.”
Detroit Pistons v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Alec Burks (Detroit Pistons)

A player who has slowly but surely found a way toward cracking the Knicks rumor mill is former New York guard/wing Alec Burks, who was a member of the Knicks as recently as in the 2022 season.

Burks is widely known to be appreciated by head coach Tom Thibodeau and that alone is more than enough to consider him a favorite to land in New York before the deadline via trade with the Detroit Pistons.

  • The Knicks “have been bidding on Burks,” per Stefan Bondy of the New York Post. According to the Knicks beat reporter, the Timberwolves and 76ers are two other teams “who were bidding on the guard,” as recently as Wednesday.
  • It’s worth noting that Minnesota traded for fellow Piston Monte Morris on Wednesday, which might have put an end to their interest in Burks.
  • The Monte Morris trade could also impact the possibility of New York landing Burks. The most probable transaction before Wednesday’s development would have been a two-for-one trade involving Fournier, Burks, and Morris to match salaries. With Morris not available anymore, Fournier’s salary cannot be traded for Burks’ on a one-for-one trade and Detroit would need to add somebody else... or New York would need to build an entirely different package with multiple players (never Fournier) under lower salaries approaching Burks’ $10.4 million.
  • Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN revealed on Wednesday the Knicks have been “an active team” leading up to Thursday’s deadline. According to the insider, the Knicks “want to improve, especially their bench scoring, at the deadline.”
  • Woj added that he “doesn’t think” the injuries currently impacting the Knicks roster top to bottom “have changed” the plans entering the deadline. “I think there’s an expectation that these all players are going to get back in relatively short order,” he reasoned.
  • “Certainly players like Alec Burks in Detroit—that’s been a conversation for the Knicks [and] for some other contenders who can get him with some draft assets,” Woj added.
Oklahoma City Thunder v Utah Jazz Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Jordan Clarkson (Utah Jazz)

The highest-profile player on the Knicks' radar with realistic odds to land in New York before the deadline is Utah Jazz’s microwave scorer and former Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson.

Clarkson would fit smoothly within the bench of the Knicks no matter how many players eventually return from their current injuries, considering how barren of scorers and creators the second unit of the Knicks have been in the 2024 calendar year following the departure of Immanuel Quickley in the OG Anunoby trade.

  • According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Post, ”Jordan Clarkson, a sparkplug wing scorer, and Kelly Olynyk, a gritty veteran center,” are “two names The Post has heard about” linked to the Knicks.
  • Per Bondy, Clarkson “would cost the most, but the Jazz don’t have to deal him with multiple years left on his deal.” Clarkson is earning $23.5 million this season and is under contract for two more years at $14 million each through June 2026.
  • Tony Jones of The Athletic reported on Tuesday that between Clarkson and Olynyk, the former is “less likely to be traded at this point.” He warned “Anything can certainly happen,” but added, “The winds are swaying toward Clarkson staying with the Jazz through the deadline.”
  • That said, the same Jones appeared on an ESPN show on Feb. 7 saying “I can tell you just from my conversations with people around the situation, I think that Jordan [Clarkson] would welcome a trade [to the Knicks] if that’s how it would go down.”
Milwaukee Bucks v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images

Malcolm Brogdon (Portland Trail Blazers)

Perhaps the favorite trade target among New York Knicks fans, veteran point guard Malcolm Brogdon might also be the hardest to acquire in the next few hours as neither the player nor his franchise seems to want to part ways even if Brogdon’s age certainly doesn’t align with Portland’s timeline and current rebuilding efforts.

  • “Malcolm Brogdon, the Blazers’ point guard, has been reportedly on the Knicks’ radar,” per Stefan Bondy of the New York Post, who also points out Brogdon is “repped by Klutch Sports, which recently made peace with the Knicks after years of an icy relationship.”
  • Kyle Neubeck of PHLY reported on Wednesday that “the Sixers made inquiries about Portland’s Malcolm Brogdon in the hope of adding the versatile veteran guard to their rotation,” according to sources. “As of now, however, Brogdon appears to be staying in Portland, with the Blazers content to hold onto Brogdon unless they are bowled over with an offer.”
  • Jake Fischer of Yahoo reported similar information on Wednesday, revealing that the Blazers “are indicating to teams that they are interested in keeping veterans Jerami Grant and Malcolm Brogdon,” and that they would need “an offer that blows them away” to consider moving either player.

Dejounte Murray (Atlanta Hawks)

It seems like the absolute best player to be reportedly available this month, Atlanta guard Dejounte Murray, is definitely not coming to New York mostly because of the gaudy price the Hawks have tagged him with.

  • In his report from Wednesday, Stefan Bondy of the New York Post included a line about Murray writing the Knicks “have checked in with the Hawks about Murray in recent weeks,” but also adding that “reports suggest their interest cooled at Atlanta’s high asking price.”
  • Jake Fischer of Yahoo revealed on Monday that Atlanta’s price for Murray has been set at “two (first-round) picks and then some.”
Toronto Raptors Victory Parade & Rally Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Knicks Stand Pat / Kyle Lowry (Charlotte Hornets)

Finally, and although it is not the most exciting path forward, the Knicks could simply do nothing between now and the 3 pm deadline. That means New York would save all of their assets for the proverbial “superstar trade” that the Knicks have been building toward forever and that they expect/want to pull off next summer.

This doesn’t mean there won’t be any action, mind you, even though we will have to wait for something to happen. If the Knicks don’t complete a trade before the deadline, they are expected to complete a string of transactions during the next weeks and months leading up to July including, among others, activating Evan Fournier’s team option for the 2024-25 season so he can still be traded during next offseason.

On top of that, and impacting this campaign, the Knicks would at least explore the buy-out market when veterans start to hit it later this month and in March, most probably trying to snatch someone to bolster their rotation as they get closer to the postseason tipping off in April.

Stefan Bondy highlighted the main target the Knicks will chase in the buyout market—if he makes it there instead of getting traded today: Kyle Lowry of the Charlotte Hornets.

“Passing on a trade-deadline move also sets up the potential for the buyout market, which could include Kyle Lowry,” he wrote. “The Knicks still have their biannual exception available to use for a buyout candidate, giving them a financial advantage over other potential suitors.”

Fellow New York Post reporter Mike Vaccaro wrote on Wednesday after a no-moves day in the Knicks headquarters, “More and more, the addition that makes the most sense is Kyle Lowry, assuming he makes it to the other side of the deadline Thursday without getting traded away by the Hornets and decides to work out a buyout with Charlotte instead.”

As Vaccaro notes, “It was 11 years ago when the Knicks came awfully close to acquiring Lowry from Toronto,“ which could have happened in a mid-season trade back around Christmas 2013. The deal was in place but it collapsed at the last minute with Toronto making a U-turn and cancelling everything.

Lowry, for whatever’s worth, is another former Villanova Wildcat, who seems to be the type of player that works nicely for New York and appeases Leon Rose. Will we see a five-man Nova Knicks (smallish) lineup? Only time will tell...