With wins against Brooklyn, Dallas, Boston, New Orleans, and Milwaukee, you’d think the Knicks were having a great season, right? Well, there won’t be any bubble bursting here. You probably already know they are 10-34 and are looking forward to the NBA Draft lottery. With outstanding Duke forward Zion Williamson in the mix, many teams would be ecstatic to land him.
Operation “Tryin’ for Zion” is in full effect.
Just saw the Knicks record….. Glad they’ve been watching Duke games too.
— Joe Budden (@JoeBudden) January 14, 2019
Let’s look at two trades the Knicks should consider:
Lance Thomas to the OKC Thunder for Patrick Patterson and Hamidou Diallo
If the Knicks advance further in their trade talks to move Enes Kanter, this trade makes sense. They’ll get back a veteran stretch big who can share minutes with Mitchell Robinson and Noah Vonleh. With all the inconsistency among guards, they’ll also get back a young New York native in Diallo. Who wouldn’t be excited for a battle royal including Diallo, Burke, Ntilikina, Mudiay?
The Knicks are in a space where they’re looking to get younger and faster. Along with the league revolution in shooting three-pointers, you can’t have enough big men that can stretch the floor.
This trade also works for the Thunder. Thomas has only appeared in 18 games for the Knicks but could use the change of scenery. Out West, teams are looking to stockpile “3 and D” players to surround their stars. He could fit perfectly into their scheme, knocking down corner threes and being switchable on defense.
Patrick Patterson is averaging a career-low 14.8 minutes-per-game and could use a boost in action. His production has seen a dip from his days in Toronto. However, at this point, the Knicks are just feeling guys out until free agency hits.
Courtney Lee to the Portland Trail Blazers for Maurice Harkless
Again, as the Knicks look to get younger and explosive, Moe Harkless would be a good target. He’s shown flashes in Portland but hasn’t been consistent enough to provide the outside shooting and aggression needed to help the dynamic backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Maybe bringing the kid back home will do some justice.
For Portland, they will be getting another prototypical “3 and D” player, and an experienced veteran. They’ve struggled to find guys that can shoot and make plays when the defense shrinks the court in the playoffs. Lee is a tough player that can provide leadership both on and off the floor. With Portland being unexpectedly swept in last year’s postseason, they’ve got to do some adjusting, be it minimal or not.
There aren’t many blockbuster moves either team can make without sacrificing much of their foundation. As we look to this trade deadline, some small moves could prove to bigger in the long run.