The 2020-21 season offered hope for the New York Knicks as they made the playoffs for the first time in ages and secured 4th place in the Eastern Conference. Despite losing in the first round of the playoffs, the season was still a big win for the Knicks as the future looked very bright.
Then the 2021-22 season happened, the Knicks missed the playoffs, and once again question marks surrounded this franchise heading into the offseason. With the signings of Jalen Brunson and Isaiah Hartenstein, the Knicks have definitely improved in areas where they struggled a season ago, and this team wasn’t terrible, but they weren’t great either.
The Knicks are currently 9-9 on the season, and with the Eastern Conference being so packed, there’s very little room for error this year. Reaching the playoffs would be another huge achievement for this organization, but the ultimate goal of team president Leon Rose and general manager Scott Perry is to find a way to make New York a title-contesting franchise again, much like them in the past was 90s with Patrick Ewing.
Trading for an All-Star-like talent is something that will happen for the Knicks in the future. The only question, however, is when will they actually pull the trigger on a deal?
Who knows, maybe that will happen before this season’s trade deadline, but given the lack of Star Power currently available across the league, it seems more likely that the Knicks will look to secure their rotations by going out and against some trade secondary talents to help them make a real playoff push.
Several of these player types should be available or to be made available over the next few months, so here are a few names to keep an eye on for New York.
Robert Covington – Los Angeles Clippers
Regardless of what they look like right now or their record, the Los Angeles Clippers are title contenders this year simply because they have strong defense and experience.
Assuming Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are healthy by the end of the year, Los Angeles will be at the top of the Western Conference totem pole and nobody will want to play them.
However, owner Steve Ballmer isn’t afraid to spend more money to set his team up for success, and as such might try to move some people around before the trade deadline to add talent in areas they need.
Veteran Robert Covington is a guy the Clippers could trade, especially since he doesn’t play much early this season and is making $12.3 million this year. Covington has a year left on his current contract and could definitely be an addition for a mid-season team looking to add depth to the wing and its forward positions.
He plays hard on the defensive end of the floor and can spread the floor offensively, knocking down routine three-pointers from the corner, so he could be a great fit for Tom Thibodeau’s system with the Knicks.
Covington offers New York an opportunity to have a true “small-ball” lineup with his ability to play central position, and while he’s not a flashy name, Robert Covington knows what it takes to win in this league . The Knicks don’t have many playoff-seasoned players on their roster, so it might make sense to swap a player like Evan Fournier or Derrick Rose in for the Clippers veteran.
The only problem is that Los Angeles may hold Covington for later in the season and may not want to trade for Fournier or Rose, especially given the weight of their contracts.
Duncan Robinson-Miami Heat
Duncan Robinson’s situation with the Miami Heat is very unique because after the 2020-21 season, a year in which Robinson shot 40.8 percent from the floor and posted a career-high 65 three-pointers, the Heat gave him an impressive five-year, $90 million deal.
The very next season after signing that contract, Robinson appeared to fall out of rotation for Miami as his minutes and overall production dwindled, and now he’s only watched 20 or more minutes in just seven games this season.
Miami seems open to trading Robinson for the right price, and as an elite-level three-point shooter, he should definitely be a player the Knicks are keeping an eye on.
Obviously his contract is worse than Evan Fournier’s, a player the Knicks produced as a key three-pointer threat, but Robinson is 28, he understands his role as a three-pointer and he’s a smart player on both ends of the floor .
The route to getting Robinson, which New York could offer, could be via a three-team deal that sees Miami turn aggressive before the trade deadline. Replacing his nearly $17 million contract with a key talent could be a goal for the Heats, which is why they could look to “dive” Robinson in a trade elsewhere.
Assuming they’ll try to move Evan Fournier at some point, Duncan Robinson might not be a bad addition for the Knicks, especially since they’re 29th in the league in three-point shooting.
Terrence RossOrlando Magic
All options are on the table for the Knicks heading into the month of December, and looking ahead to the February trade deadline, New York needs to put more talent on offense.
Terrence Ross has proven to be a “spark” off the bench throughout his career and seems like he’s been on the trading block since arriving in Orlando in the 2016-17 season. In 501 career games off the bench, Ross has averaged 11.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game while shooting 35.5 percent from three-point range.
At 31, Ross is a veteran player who is very consistent offensively, and the best part about winning him is that he’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2023.
Basically, the Knicks could go out and trade for Terrence Ross, knowing he’d be a one-year loan-type player, ultimately freeing up $11.5 million in cap space next summer that the Knicks could use to try and land this superstar. like talent already mentioned.
The Orlando Magic should be more than happy to talk about trading with the Veteran Guard before the trade deadline, and their asking price shouldn’t be too high either. Immanuel Quickley is a player the Knicks just made available in trade talks and veteran Derrick Ross is another player the team has expressed interest in a potential move this season.
Again, this is perhaps another three-team deal scenario where Rose and/or Quickley wouldn’t go to Orlando, but the Knicks still have the financial option to trade for a player like Terrence Ross, someone who would be immediate Insult to them from the bank.
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