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NBA Rumors: Knicks to Use Veteran As Offseason Trade Chip

New York Knicks veteran Josh Hart guards Portland Trail Blazers scorer Jerami Grant

The New York Knicks are in the midst of a critical offseason period.

Everyone is waiting for head coach Tom Thibodeau and face of the franchise Jalen Brunson to sign an extension. Many wonder what OG Anunoby will do in free agency, though the 3-and-D wing is expected to remain with the Knicks. Isaiah Hartenstein’s situation is a little more complicated. There’s mutual interest among the two sides, but a few teams can outbid New York.

There’s also the question of what they’ll do with players like Bojan Bogdanovic, whose salary for the 2024-25 season becomes fully guaranteed on Jun. 28. The 35-year-old didn’t play particularly well after being acquired, averaging 10.4 points per game while shooting 43.0 percent from the field. He was also limited to four games in the 2024 NBA Playoffs due to a season-ending foot surgery. However, he did shoot 37.0 percent from 3.

All that said, it’s unsurprising that HoopsHype insider Michael Scotto reports that “the expectation as of now is the Knicks will guarantee (his) salary for the upcoming season, and he’ll become a trade candidate in the final year of his contract as a result…”

Knicks to Use Bojan Bogdanovic As Offseason Trade Chip

If the Knicks’ intention is to utilize Bogdanovic as a trade chip for a star player, there are a couple of teams who may be incentivized by their war chest of first-round picks.

The Portland Trail Blazers may be willing to move Jerami Grant, an upper-level two-way forward. The Washington Wizards know they won’t be truly competitive for a while, so Kyle Kuzma could be targeted. Interestingly, Kuzma and Knicks star Julius Randle were teammates during the former’s rookie season. Chicago Bulls high-flyer Zach LaVine may even be on New York’s mind. Because of Bogdanovic’s history with the Utah Jazz, they may swing for Lauri Markkanen.

Kyle Kuzma to New York?

Of the aforementioned options, Kuzma may be the most attainable option. Because the Wizards are rebuilding, they have more need of first-round draft picks than the Bulls, who would like to remain a playoff contender. Yet, the Blazers and Jazz are a bit further along in their rebuild, likely preferring established talents to more young players at this juncture.

A Big 3 of Brunson, Randle, and Kuzma has a lot of potential offensively, each player averaging at least 20 points per game over the past two seasons. The primary question is whether they can move the ball properly amongst themselves. Each are prone to tunnel vision, more a byproduct of their competitive nature than a lack of tunnel vision, but nonetheless an issue. Unfortunately for the Knicks, they’re all on-ball scorers, too.

None are particularly effective defenders either. They each lack the footwork and lateral agility necessary to consistently impede their opponent’s attack. However, they’ll have the right supporting cast. If all goes right for the Knicks this offseason, they’ll retain Anunoby, a lockdown defender. Both Donte DiVincenzo and Josh Hart are strong perimeter defenders as well. They also have a strong shot-blocker in Mitchell Robinson to help erase their mistakes.

Still, the poor offensive fit is too glaring an issue. As a result, the Knicks shouldn’t pull the trigger on a deal. They would be better served targeting Grant, who has averaged 20.7 points per game over the past two seasons while shooting 40.2 percent from 3. Defensively, he can also hold his own.

Waiting On Mikal Bridges

Of course, Brooklyn Nets puzzle piece Mikal Bridges is on their wishlist.

Brunson’s teammate at Villanova, Bridges’s defense and efficiency from outside would fit well next to Randle, who is more of an offensive-minded faceup forward. However, the Nets believe him to be a foundational piece. This severely impacts the likelihood of them being amenable to a trade.

Nonetheless, Brooklyn is sure to be assessing his future with them throughout the season. If Bridges’s performance next season is anything like it was in 2023-24, Bogdanovic and a first may be all they get for him.


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