The NBA’s trade deadline is less than 24 hours away, and the New York Knicks and Phil Jackson still might have some tricks up their sleeve. It’s clear that the Knicks aren’t going to contend for the playoffs this season, but they still have several pieces that they’re looking to unload before this summer.
Keep Or Deal:
Keep: Carmelo Anthony, Cleanthony Early, Lance Thomas, Lou Amundson, Langston Galloway
Deal: Jose Calderon, Pablo Prigioni, Andrea Bargiani, Travis Wear
50-50: Tim Hardaway Jr., Shane Larkin, Jason Smith, Quincy Acy, Cole Aldrich
Carmelo Anthony is injured and out for the season, and has a no-trade clause. He isn’t going anywhere. While it’s typical that the Knicks sell off their draft picks, it’s unlikely that they will part ways with Cleanthony Early after just half a season. Thomas, Amundson, and Galloway are contractually obligated to see out the season with the Knicks.
Jose Calderon is the Knicks most appealing asset. The Spanish point guard has struggled this year, but he is still an able floor general who doesn’t turn the ball over too often. Calderon could be a viable veteran presence and shooter off of the bench for a contending team.
Pablo Prigioni is a veteran and not much of a scoring threat, but he can distribute as good as anyone. His court vision and unselfishness can benefit a lot of teams.
Andrea Bargniani’s only appeal is his big, fat expiring contract, and the Knicks could get some good assets out of it.
Tim Hardaway Jr. should really only be traded if the Knicks are bringing in a marquee-esque player, seeing as he’s the teams best asset. Larkin, Smith, Acy, and Aldrich are all expendable.
Dragic Goes to the Big Apple
Knicks Receive: Goran Dragic
Suns Receive: Tim Hardaway Jr., Jose Calderon, 2018 1st round pick
Why the Knicks should do this deal: The Knicks need a star point guard of the future, and Dragic can certainly be that guy. He’s informed phoenix that he’ll leave them in free agency, which means he’s a strong candidate to be moved before the deadline. An explosive scorer, Dragic is averaging 16.2 points per game for the Suns this year. At 28 years old, he’s got plenty left in his legs, and could grow into an elite point guard.
Why the Knicks shouldn’t do this deal: Getting Dragic will instantly make the Knicks better, which is the opposite of what they want at the moment. The European point guard can almost single-handedly deliver the Knicks five more wins, which would put them at a disadvantage in the Jahlil Okafor stakes. Additionally, Dragic is a free agent this summer, and if the Suns can’t find a way to trade him, the Knicks could get him and not have to sacrifice a first rounder and a very good young piece in Hardaway Jr..
Reggie Jackson Joins the Knicks
Knicks Receive: Reggie Jackson, Mitch McGary
Thunder Receive: Jason Smith, 2018 1st round pick
Why the Knicks should do this deal: Reggie Jackson is being criminally underused in Oklahoma City; when he was a starter during Russell Westbrook’s injury, Jackson averaged around 16 points per game. He’s explosive, determined, and young. Jackson has the skill to blossom into a stellar NBA point guard, and he might not cost too much. The Thunder will take the first rounder, and Jason Smith can bring his perimeter prowess to the team. Unloading McGary is a salary cap formality.
Why the Knicks shouldn’t do this deal: They might not want to surrender a first rounder, but if the Thunder agree to this deal, it’s very likely that they suck it up and make the deal happen.
Knicks, Magic swap Harkless, Hardaway Jr.
Knicks Receive: Moe Harkless, future second round pick
Magic Receive: Tim Hardaway Jr., Travis Wear
Why the Knicks should do this deal: Harkless is a young, athletic small forward off the pine that can create his own shot and score. He has starting potential down the road, and could occupy the three next season and let Anthony play the four. A future second rounder also helps, especially with Phil Jackson’s newfound emphasis on stockpiling draft picks.
Why the Knicks shouldn’t do this deal: There are an abundance of talented small forwards in the NBA, but the shooting guard position is thin. Tim Hardaway Jr. is still developing, but he has the potential to be a starting shooting guard. The Knicks already have a small three, which makes me question the necessity for Harkless, especially if it involves giving up the teams best asset. Hardaway Jr. can be put to better use if traded.
Knicks Snag Three Trade Targets in Phoenix Blockbuster
Knicks Receive: Goran Dragic, Brandan Wright, Miles Plumlee
Suns Receive: Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon, Tim Hardaway Jr.
Why the Knicks should do this deal: Three of the Knicks biggest trade targets would be acquired in one swap, and would instantly make the team better. Dragic is, again, a starting caliber point guard in the NBA, and would immediately give the Knicks a short-to-mid term solution at point guard. Brandan Wright can either play at power forward or center, whether it be starting or on the bench. Miles Plumlee is a serviceable backup big man in the NBA, who will play hard, gritty, smart basketball.
Why the Knicks shouldn’t do this deal: They’ll be getting two impending free agents in Dragic and Wright, which means they might improve this season, get a lower draft pick, and then lose their newly acquired players. They’re losing their big expiring contract in Andrea Bargniani, and a very valuable young asset in Tim Hardaway Jr. This move has the potential to benefit the team long term, but it might not be worth losing a shot at Jahlil Okafor.
Knicks Unload Calderon to Celtics
Knicks Receive: Tayshaun Prince
Celtics Receive: Jose Calderon
Why the Knicks should do this deal: Prince is a free agent this summer, Calderon isn’t. They will get worse as a team with Prince instead of Calderon, which is always a plus, and they’re shedding cap space for this summer. Boston needs a veteran point guard who can run the floor, and Calderon is a good fit. This deal is a win-win.
Why the Knicks shouldn’t do this deal: There’s a possibility that they could get more young assets or draft picks for Calderon; just getting Prince might not be the maximum return for a solid starting NBA point guard.
Heat Acquire Prigioni
Knicks get: Danny Granger
Heat get: Pablo Prigioni
Why the Knicks should do this deal: Danny Granger is actually a pretty decent backup small forward. He can score and create his own shot, which is a commodity that almost all the current players on the Knicks roster do not possess. Unloading Prigioni has been in the teams mind for a while, as they look to get younger and more competitive down the road. Miami, meanwhile, would benefit from the Argentine’s distribution; Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole lack in the assisting department.
Why the Knicks shouldn’t do this deal: Granger, like Prigioni, will become a free agent in 2016, but he makes about $500,000 more a year than Prigioni, and therefore marginally gives the Knicks less cap space.
Last year, amid much speculation, the Knicks didn’t make any moves. Expect that to change. The Knicks will try and acquire Dragic, but that will ultimately fall through due to their lack of assets – the same can be said for Jackson. However, expect the team to flip both Calderon and Prigioni to other playoff contenders for small paybacks, and expect them to acquire Plumlee and/or Wright from Phoenix to bolster the front court. The team probably won’t get considerably better, but they sure can get loads worse.