With the trade deadline coming at 3 p.m. eastern on Thursday, the Knicks sit at 33-18, tied for third place in the Eastern Conference, and primed to make a move to improve this team immediately. Recently, incredibly poor injury luck has struck New York as Julius Randle will be out for at least a month with a dislocated shoulder, OG Anunoby has been out for over a week with an elbow injury, Mitchell Robinson remains sidelined with an ankle injury, and in their last game against the Grizzlies, Jalen Brunson went down with an ankle injury.
Even without these injuries, the Knicks were primed to make a move to at least solidify their bench. Evan Fournier's contract provides the Knicks to match a variety of different contracts throughout the league that would be immediate upgrades to the team, even when fully healthy. With these injuries, there will most likely be an even greater sense of urgency to get a deal done to help this team hold steady through this stretch of injuries.
Malcolm Brogdon has been linked to New York for over a month, as he is a veteran guard on a young, rebuilding Trailblazers team. Brogdon is under contract for the rest of this season, and next season, and is making 22.5 million a year. After winning Sixth Man of the Year with the Celtics last year, Brogdon is putting up another solid year as he is averaging 15.7 points on 44 percent from the field and an efficient 41.2 percent from three, as well as 5.5 assists.
Brogdon would almost certainly come off the bench, which should be a natural fit for Brogdon considering his success as a sixth man with the Celtics last year. The biggest concern for Brogdon comes from his injury history. Throughout his career, he has dealt with his fair share, and in the playoffs last year Brogdon suffered an elbow injury which severely hindered his shooting, and caused a few missed games in the playoffs. Brogdon is healthy now, but the Knicks cannot afford injuries come playoff time.
A potential trade that would work for the Knicks would be Fournier, and either one or two second round pick straight up for Brogdon. Financially this trade would work, as Fournier's contract will match with Brogdon. Fournier is on an expiring contract, which should be of interest to the rebuilding Trailblazers, who would like to clear money quickly. Second round picks should be good enough value to get the deal done, considering Fournier's favorable contract.
An under the radar option for New York comes from the Wizards point guard Tyus Jones. Jones spent most of his career as the backup point guard in Memphis behind Ja Morant. He is now starting on the Wizards, who are a lowly 9-41. However, Jones is having one of his best seasons statistically, 12.2 points and 6.3 assists on 49.1 percent from the field and 39.2 percent from three. Jones provides more of a true point guard role as compared to Brogdon, who is more of a combo guard. Brogdon may be the better fit immediately to make up for the lack of scoring options from injuries, but a fully healthy Knick team could benefit more from Jones's facilitation.
The trade package should look extremely similar to that of Brogdon, with the Knicks sending Fournier and a second round pick or two straight up for Jones. Jones will be a free agent right after this season, so the Knicks would risk losing him right after this season, unlike Brogdon who is still under contract for next year. For Jones though, he is only 27 compared to Brogdon's 31, so there could be an incentive to extending him and making him the future backup point guard to Brunson.
Knicks Go All In: Dejounte Murray
The top trade asset that many teams, including the Knicks, have been connected to is Hawks guard Dejounte Murray. The one time All-Star is averaging an impressive 21.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists. He is also shooting 37 percent from three, which is a career high for him. Of course, a player of Murray's caliber will be of a higher asking price, and come with plenty more suitors than other options.
This year, Murray is only making around 18 million, so Fournier's contract would work to match. Unlike Jones and Brogdon, it will take more than a couple seconds to get a trade done. Quentin Grimes would almost certainly have to be part of the deal, and most likely at least one first round pick. This price would be steep, but it would add another All-Star level talent who plays both ends of the floor at a high level. He should fit well next to Brunson with his improved three-point ability, and it would allow Brunson to play off the ball a bit more often, as Murray is more than capable of running the offense.
One factor the Knicks are probably considering though is how well Donte DiVincenzo has been playing since entering the starting lineup. Especially with the injuries, DiVincenzo has stepped up his play in a huge way, and seems to be a great fit next to Brunson with his catch and shoot ability, as well as his perimeter defense. Murray is certainly the better overall player, but it will be a much different fit than DiVincenzo, and it will certainly take some time for everyone to get used to.
The Knicks certainly have a wide array of moves they can make going into the deadline day. It seems most likely that they look to fill that backup point guard role to help replace the offensive hole on the bench since Immanuel Quickley was traded. Even with that, the biggest concern for the Knicks now is getting their stars healthy to continue their climb up the Eastern Conference standings.
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