Possible New York Knicks Trade Targets

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (left) and New York Knicks forward Cam Reddish (right) react together after the Hawks defeated the Knicks at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

With the trade deadline arriving on the 9th of February, the New York Knicks are currently sitting tied for the 6th seed of the Eastern Conference and the automatic playoff spot. Jalen Brunson and the recently named All-Star Julius Randle have carried much of the load in helping the Knicks reach that point, both having phenomenal seasons. The Knicks have their tails up, having beaten two of the elite teams in the East- the Celtics and recently, so a trade would be wise to address their one glaring weakness at the wing to augment them further. Currently, they have three players who are out of Thibodeau’s rotation, including Cam Reddish– which is a situation that needs to be resolved one way or another.  Let’s look at the possible Knicks trade targets, their wing needs, and the fits for Cam Reddish.

Possible New York Knicks Trade Targets

Knicks Need Wing Depth

The Knicks have a glaring need for a three-and-D guy at the wing position. At the moment, RJ Barrett has been playing Small Forward, to mixed results on the offensive end, plus serious concerns defensively.

RJ is a confounding player at this stage of his career. At 22 years old, averaging 20 points per game, he clearly has strong scoring potential. However, RJ has struggled for much of this year, and his confidence has taken a hit. Shooting an abysmal 6-21 against the Clippers recently and going one for his last 18 from the perimeter over his last three games. This is hardly unusual, as he’s prone to these slumps from the perimeter. For instance, in the first five games of the season, he shot 4-28 from range. Overall, he’s a below-average 43% from the field and an atrocious 32% from three. His defensive rating of 116 is considerably below average also.

The Knicks are in a tough spot with where he fits in a starting lineup. He lacks the ideal athleticism to defend guards whilst not having the length to defend forwards. Nor the ideal shooting and handles for either spot on the floor. Knicks legend and announcer Walt Clyde Frazier even brought it up during the telecast against the Clippers, saying he’s statistically the Knicks’ worst defender.

Thus, a wing defender would take the pressure off RJ. It would potentially allow him to move back to his favored 2-guard role, where he should slightly improve defensively. Although Quentin Grimes is more suited there due to his floor spacing, defense, and far smoother offensive game. In the meantime, there is a vacant spot for a three-and-D wing, so let’s look at these possible Knicks trade targets for this spot.

Possible Knicks Trade Targets at Wing- OG Anunoby:

OG Anunoby is the definition of a three-and-D guy. He leads the league in steals and shoots 36% from behind the arc.

His main drawback is the large trade cost and his injury history.

Fit: He’d fit seamlessly, adding much-needed defense and improved three-point shooting to a team that desperately needs it. The Knicks are ranked 23rd in three-point percentage. He’s 6”7, so he will be able to guard the bigger forwards, which RJ has failed to do this season. The Knicks are 28th in steals and middle of the pack in defensive rating, so he’d help in that department. He also isn’t a high-usage player, so he’ll be able to play beside the more ball-dominant players in the lineup and improve spacing. He would elevate the Knicks roster at both ends.

Possible Trade Package: Obi Toppin, Evan Fournier/ Derrick Rose, and Two Protected First-Round Picks Plus a Second-Round Pick.

Obi Toppin, despite proving to be a very useful player and incredibly athletic, can’t seem to break into Thibodeau’s plans, and his contract is almost up. He’s stuck behind All-Star Julius Randle, and his coach doesn’t wish to use them together- so don’t expect that to change. He needs starting minutes elsewhere. Chosen eighth overall in 2018, he only commands 15 minutes per game, so it’s tough for the Knicks to justify extending him without a role for him. Both Evan Fournier and Derrick Rose are out of the rotation. Fournier is a plus three-point shooter who would have value elsewhere in that role, but his contract is undesirable.

The Toronto Raptors have made it known they are willing to discuss trades for their big three of Siakam, Gary Trent Jr, and Fred Van Fleet. The Raptors are a strong organization with great coaching and can develop Toppin further while accruing draft assets.

Potentially, this makes this trade a fit for both sides as the Knicks look to acquire the perfect three-and-D defender.

Possible Knicks Trade Target: Gary Trent Jr.

Another Raptor with a high upside. He’s developing into an exciting off-guard scorer. Gary Trent averages 18 points per game, 45% from the field and 37% from behind the arc. Over his last 10 games, it’s higher still, at 41% from behind the arc and 19.6 points. He has a higher offensive upside to OG, and he wouldn’t command as much in a trade, either.

Reportedly, he’s expected to opt out of the final year of his contract to test free agency next offseason. This would be enticing for teams looking for a young player with offensive upside at 24 years old. This would be a smart deal for the Knicks.

Fit: The Knicks need more shot creation and perimeter scoring at the wing. Adding another dynamic scorer could be an exciting option. Imagining him playing beside Brunson and Grimes, or coming off the bench alongside Quickley, instantly gives the Knicks a jolt. He also is in the right timeline to fit their young team, being 24 years old. He’s an average defender with room to grow in that department.

Possible Trade Package: Protected First-Round Pick and Miles McBride

According to Michael Grange of SportsNet, his value is a protected first or multiple second-round picks.

Expect a lot of suitors for this talented wing. The Knicks could consider adding Miles McBride to the package if it sweetens the pot. McBride is developing into a plus defender with a developing perimeter shot. Yet, his role may be limited with an extra guard in the rotation, so perhaps his inclusion sweetens the deal.

With Trent likely to opt out, the Raptors would be wise to accrue assets to avoid losing him for nothing. The Knicks need a talented wing capable of creating off the dribble or pulling up from behind the arc. I’d jump all over this deal as long as the Knicks can work out an extension.


Possible Knicks Trade Targets: Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt

Fit: Malik Beasley is a 36% three-point shooter and solid scorer to improve the Knicks’ bench scoring. Jarred Vanderbilt is a solid backup defensive big.

Knicks front office executive Gersson Rosas is reportedly a huge fan of Malik Beasley, having drafted him in Minnesota. Hence, Beasley’s name is linked to the Knicks.

Package: Obi Toppin and Evan Fournier plus draft compensation

On paper, the Knicks gain a capable backup forward who can defend at 6”9 in Vanderbilt, and Beasley would add a spark to the second unit despite being a below-average defender.

In my opinion, I don’t think this is the right package to ship off Obi Toppin, who has value. Toppin’s lack of minutes is more to do with not fitting into Thibodeau’s half-court system and drop coverage defense than anything to do with ability. Obi is a guy who is shooting 12-22 from behind the arc in his last nine games and is particularly excellent in transition and the pick and roll. Obi is worth a first-round pick alone, or a very solid starting player, rather than two questionable fits. This would be a good move for Utah rather than New York. Although the Knicks will be motivated to move Fournier’s inflated contract, I’m not convinced this is the right package.

Possible Knicks Trade Targets: Trades Involving Cam Reddish

Cam has sat out the last 28 games and counting, a mind-boggling number at this stage, without a conclusion. I understand the Knicks wish to get the best possible return on their investment, but this needs to get resolved for both sides.

Last season, the Knicks acquired him from the Hawks in exchange for a first-round pick. At the time, this looked like a smart deal for New York. A young, athletic scoring wing from Duke on his rookie contract. However, he’s yet to consistently put his game together. Another issue was Tom Thibodeau expressing to the front office that he didn’t see a fit for him prior to the trade. In an odd move, the front office went ahead and did it anyway. This already set the relationship between player and coach off to a rocky start.

According to Knick insider Ian Begley of SNY, Cam expressed his frustrations with his lack of usage to the coaching staff, and Thibodeau removed him from the rotation completely.

Surprisingly, he’s still a Knick with just a few days to go before the deadline. They need to draw a line under this and move on. Reportedly, the Knicks are looking for second-round picks for the player and/or a rotation piece in exchange. Let’s look at the possible trades that have been rumored involving Cam.

Cam Reddish to the Cleveland Cavs for Cedi Osman:

Fit: Reportedly, the Cavs have expressed interest in trading for Reddish. They are also rumored to be willing to include Cedi Osman in the deal.

This would be a no-brainer for the Knicks. Osman is a very solid rotational small forward. He has a well-rounded game- is a solid defender, and is a threat from behind the arc. At 6’7″, he also has the size to match up with forwards. His win-share, according to basketball-reference for his career, is 9.7, considerably higher than the other Knicks wings: RJ’s 7.7 and Cam Reddish’s 1.7 in comparison.

This is a small deal that would pay dividends for the Knicks.

Cam Reddish and Derrick Rose to the Milwaukee Bucks for Grayson Allen and Serge Ibaka:

Fit: The Bucks reportedly have made Grayson Allen’s name available for talks. He’s another solid three-and-D guy. Allen is a terrific three-point shooter at 40%. He’s also a tenacious perimeter defender.

The massive drawback for him- is the fact he frequently steps over the line between hard fouls and just plain dirty fouls. How would that play in New York and the culture Thibodeau has cultivated? I can’t see it. Although, the Knicks should find a home for Derrick Rose, and this would be a potentially nice fit. He’d be an excellent backup guard for the Bucks, who could do with his skills off the bench.

Prior to signing Brunson, trading for Rose was the best move the Knicks front office made to that point. Despite being out of the Knicks rotation, he still has a year or two left in his brilliant career, and perhaps by acquiring Serge Ibaka in exchange- the savvy veteran big would help as cover with Mitch Robinson out. I’d focus on that smaller deal rather than Allen in the package.

Cam Reddish and Draft Compensation to the Pistons for Saddiq Bey

Fit: Saddiq Bey is a  talented scoring big, coming off 22 and 25-point games against the Hornets and Suns, respectively. At 23 years old, there is plenty of room to grow into his obvious athletic and scoring potential. He’s already a solid offensive player who can improve his 40% from the field and 34% from the perimeter. He needs to improve his shooting percentages, but the 2020 first-rounder has plenty of upside offensively. The Pistons have not been a competitive team in a long time, and perhaps the Knicks coaching staff led by Thibodeau and the rising Johnnie Bryant could cultivate that upside. However, he is a below-average defender as a small forward. The Knicks need a prototypical three-and-D guy to make them more competitive this season.

Other Teams Possibly Interested in Reddish:

The Miami Heat and LA Lakers have also reportedly expressed interest in the Knicks forward. Both the Lakers and Heat have limited assets that would appeal to the Knicks that match Reddish’s contract unless it’s purely a trade to acquire draft picks.

Overall, Possible Knicks Trade Targets

The Knicks should be motivated to do the following- help lessen the scoring load on Brunson and Randle by acquiring a wing defender and perimeter shooter to help stretch the floor. Cam Reddish will almost certainly be traded. They also need to find a home for Derrick Rose, the veteran guard can still help a contending team off the bench.

Obi Toppin appears the Knicks’ best young player that’s likely available. Toppin is only getting 15 minutes per game and is almost due an extension, making it necessary for The Knicks to look at moving him and acquiring assets. Immanuel Quickley has proven to be invaluable off the bench on both sides of the court and should be unavailable, as should Quentin Grimes- the way he cuts and moves off the ball, whilst smooth with it, makes him a positive piece to build around. RJ Barrett may become available down the line due to his poor fit, but the poison pill in his contract will deter teams until his extension kicks in.

As for the best-rumored acquisitions- I’d focus on dealing with the Raptors. Gary Trent Jr or OG Anunoby. Either one would be excellent additions for the Knicks as they look to take a step forward and build around Brunson and Randle.

The Knicks’ front office sat out the previous two deadlines, they shouldn’t sit this one out if they wish to take a step forward as a team.