New York Knicks Trade Deadline Needs

The New York Knicks trade deadline transactions should consist of acquisitions that bring back a legitimate starting point guard; the Knicks need to be buyers at the deadline. New York heads into the All-Star break with a record of 23-32. They have lost six straight and ten of their last eleven games. This recent skid even prompted President of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson to relieve Derek Fisher of his coaching duties and promote Kurt Rambis to lead the team the rest of the season. A change of head coach was a step in the right direction, but that is all it was — a step. This team will not be a true contender until there is an upgrade at the point guard position.

The trade deadline is February 18th at 3pm eastern standard time. The New York Knicks are currently twelfth in the Eastern Conference and only five games behind the Charlotte Hornets for the eighth and final playoff spot. If New York is serious about making the playoffs this season, then Jackson needs to work some of his “zen magic” in the next week to bring in a more aggressive and defensive minded floor general. The current ones on the roster just are not getting the job done.

Jose Calderon, Langston Galloway, and Jerian Grant are currently the trio of guards that Knicks are using at the point guard spot. Calderon is a very good shooter when he decides to shoot. Unfortunately, that may be the only thing he brings to the table now in his eleventh season. He is too passive to the point where his offensive game often disappears. This was never more evident than in their last game where he missed all four shots he took scoring zero points. At this stage in his career, Calderon is unable to stay in front of the younger and faster point guards in the league. This has made him a defensive liability that New York just cannot afford to have on the court playing starters minutes.

Grant and Galloway are talented young guards who are able to attack the basket. They are just more suited at this time to come off the bench. Grant is a solid defender but is way too inconsistent on the offensive end of the court. His shooting has been the major problem for him during his rookie season, as he is only connecting on 34.9 percent of his shots from the floor and 14.8 percent from behind the three-point arc. Galloway is the most complete player of the three, but he is better coming off the bench. If this team is going to be a true contender, then he cannot be getting starters minutes. The Knicks are 24th in the NBA with 20.4 assists per game. Their guards are even worse, averaging only 10.8 per game, which is ranked 29th. Calderon leads the three of them with 4.1 assists per game which is good for second on the team behind Carmelo Anthony’s 4.2. When Carmelo Anthony is the team leader in assists, you know that you have issues at the point guard position.

Knicks fans have been shouting from the rooftops for Mike Conley Jr. to become a Knick. As I have written before, I just do not see that as being realistic. Let’s take a look at some targets the New York Knicks should inquire about by the deadline.

The top target for the New York Knicks has to be Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague. Atlanta has made Teague available due to the emergence of the younger and cheaper Dennis Schroder. Another reason may be because Al Horford is an unrestricted free agent and they could be looking to gather as many future assets as they can in order to rebuild. In his seventh season, Teague is averaging 15.1 points and 5.5 assists per game. The points are the highest per season in his career. He also possesses a very team friendly contract going forward. He is owed eight million dollars this season and the next before becoming a free agent. Teague would be priciest acquisition of the bunch. New York would have to put together a package that would include their 2018 first round draft pick, which management may not be inclined to do.

The next target for the New York should be Ty Lawson of the Houston Rockets. Lawson should be cheaper than Teague to the point where they do not even have to part with a first round draft pick. Lawson is currently averaging 6.3 points and 3.6 assists in 23.4 minutes per game this season. Those are all the lowest numbers since his trade to Houston this past off season. His skills though are nothing to shrug off. His 9.6 assists last season ranked third in the NBA. He does have another year left on his contract after this season for $13.2 million. That is a bit high, but the good thing is that it is not guaranteed so if doesn’t work out, the Knicks can just cut him.

An under the radar target for New York, if they are unable to get one of the other two players, should be New Orleans Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday. The Pelicans came into the season with playoff aspirations. They have vastly under performed this year mostly due to injuries. They are near the bottom of the Western Conference and looking to shed contracts. Since coming back from injury Holiday has been coming off the bench. This just might be the opportunity the Knicks need to get their point guard. The problem is that even though he is averaging 14.9 points and 5.5 assists per game, he is owed $11.28 million next season. This would hinder New York’s free agent options in the offseason.

Phil Jackson has done a superb job in rebuilding a team that won a franchise low seventeen games last season. Now that a solid foundation of actual NBA players is laid, the next step is to build from that with stars. Jackson has already gone on record saying that rookie phenom Kristaps Porzingis is not going anywhere. Star player Carmelo Anthony has a no-trade clause and said that he has no plans of waiving it. If Jackson is unable to coerce a deal due to the minimal assets the team possesses, there are other ways to make an upgrade. The Knicks can use their open roster spot to sign free agent Tony Wroten or bring up D-League star Jimmer Fredette on a ten day contract and see how he performs. Since this is a point guard driven league, the New York Knicks have no choice but to bring in a star or at least a serviceable filler until a certain Russell Westbrook becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2017.

Which iconic sports venue is highest on your bucket list? in LastWordOnSports’s Hangs on LockerDome