Could the New York Knicks be working on an impact trade ahead of the deadline?
If you know the Knicks, then you already know unpredictability is what brings predictability to Madison Square Garden.
Enter the latest report ($) from Shams Charania of The Athletic, who wrote early on Friday about the Knicks’ “willingness” to potentially include one/both guards Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley in an eventual trade.
According to Charania and his sources, this would be a move “to sort out the team’s glut at the guard position.”
It is easy to see what is happening here and the reasons quoted by Charania coming from the league sources are very legitimate. The Knicks are currently using a freshly introduced nine-man rotation in which two guards (veteran Evan Fournier and banged-up Quentin Grimes) have already been left out.
Free agency signee Jalen Brunson is handling the point for the Knicks after inking a deal with the New York City franchise last summer and a seemingly reborn Cam Reddish (not quite the definition of a shooting guard) is starting games at the two these days.
A slight overload is in place, even more considering the fact that franchise player RJ Barrett can operate on the wings whether that is at the 2 or the 3 positions, veteran Ryan Arcidiacono has barely played but is still on the roster, and Miles “Deuce” McBride keeps waiting on the developmental wings.
Don’t bother counting Knicks’ guards with one hand, because you’d run out of fingers quickly.
Knicks trade talk around Derrick Rose, Immanuel Quickly comes too late
Of course, as is always the case with the folks inhabiting Manhattan, something had to be at least slightly off with their newest approaches to roster building.
After a summer in which the Knicks front office decided to pass on adding an All-Star talent in Donovan Mitchell (now in Cleveland) or pursue a deal to poach Dejounte Murray (now in Atlanta), Leon Rose just decided they want to trade one of the Knicks most promising players in 23-year-old Immanuel Quickley. Because why not?
Trading Derrick Rose, who has admitted to being “in the unknown” himself just a few days ago after falling almost completely out of the rotation, is reasonable and understandable. There won’t be many suitors out there willing to pay for his services at this point, but a deal would at least make sense for New York looking at the future.
Rose is playing just 13.5 MPG entering Friday’s game against the Golden State Warriors —coincidentally a possible suitable destination — while averaging low figures in points (6.7), dimes (2.3), and boards (1.7) per game.
Quickley, on the other hand… The youngster is playing his third season as a pro with the Knicks while logging virtually as many minutes (22.1) as last year (23.1) boasting career highs in the rebounding (4.8 RPG) and stealing (1.3 SPG) statistical categories. He’s basically showing all of the signs of a breakout season on the defensive end while adding 8.9 PPG and 3.3 APG nightly on a subpar 19.2 percent usage rate off the pine.
Per Cleaning the Glass, when Quickley is on the floor the Knicks are winning matchups by a plus-6.7 point differential compared to losing them by minus-8.0 points when he’s off it. That’s a plus-14.7 swing in favor of the Knicks comparing the on/off-court splits put up by lineups featuring (or not) Quickley.
Per Basketball-Reference.com, Quickley has the best defensive rating (109 points surrendered per 100 Poss) among Knicks with more than six minutes of playing time this season. Only big men Jericho Sims (tied at 109 but on a much smaller sample of 131 minutes played), Isaiah Hartenstein (110), and Mitchell Robinson (110) are close to Quickley’s figure.
Yet the Knicks, for some reason, are dangling Quickley now instead of taking advantage of Mitchell’s and Murray’s availability last summer. For reasons unknown, as is their wont.
There is still plenty of time until we arrive at the trade deadline. Heck, even some of the most interesting players around the association won’t be tradable until midway through December because of different CBA quirks.
Shams also reported a few days ago that the consensus belief among league executives is that the Knicks “are just waiting for the next megastar to become available.” That after having fumbled the rock on adding two widely available and proven talents with a bright and assured future ahead of them, favoring draft-pick hoarding to keep playing a guessing game instead.
Only time will tell if these latest whispers are true and if the Knicks, in fact, end up landing that “megastar” president Leon Rose keeps dreaming about nightly, weekly, monthly, yearly… and on and on it goes.
Getting rid of young, foundational pieces surely doesn’t feel like the smartest approach by a mediocre team, but it definitely falls right into the modus operandi of this unpredictably predictable franchise.