A three team trade was announced last night in the NBA between the Thunder, the Cavaliers and the Knicks. The trade involved six players and a couple of draft picks. The Thunder received Cleveland guard Dion Waiters, while the Cavs landed J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, previously of the Knicks, and Oklahoma City’s future first round pick. New York landed Alex Kirk, Lou Amundson and Lance Thomas, the first two from the Cavaliers and Thomas from the Thunder, and a 2019 draft pick from Cleveland. Everyone is looking at how it affects the Cavs and the Thunder because both teams are likely playoff bound. I want to look at the Knicks, who, to me anyway, seemed to have taken whatever deal the team could find without really maximizing its potential.
The Knicks have been one of the worst teams in the league this year and their record shows it. New York scores the second fewest points per game and rank in the bottom third of the league for shooting percentage. Defensively, the Knicks are mediocre as well. New York sits as the 21st scoring defense and 24th in shooting percentage against. That includes allowing teams to shoot almost 40 percent from behind the arc, worst in the NBA. Derek Fisher’s team also has the third worst point differential in the league. The Knicks are more than on their way to a top-5 pick with their 5-32 record. This team cannot even rebound well as it ranks second to last in that category as well.
The issue for the Knicks organization now is that they need to rebuild this team. This team does not frighten anyone and will not with the current core of players. The front office knows that but is not doing much to start that process. Sure, shipping Smith and Shumpert to Cleveland is a nice sentiment but the Knicks got back three role players with non-guaranteed contracts and a second round pick, for four years from now. That provides zero help for the immediate future. It makes Kirk Amundson and Thomas likely candidates to be dealt again because of the contract flexibility but it is useless in reality. It accomplished next to nothing. The organization has no new draft picks to bolster this aging and talent-strapped roster. The Knicks’ plan will be to most likely build around Carmelo Anthony for the near future due to the nature of his contract that he signed just this past offseason.
The reality is that this trade does next to nothing to help New York. It allowed them to jettison two players the team had been shopping for a long time but it did not really bring in much in the way of trade ammunition either. The Knicks are, if it is even possible, actually in worse shape after engineering this trade. The front office sold out on the present but failed to buy into the future. They opened up a ton of cap space for themselves in the coming offseason but the free agent pool does not project as well as the Knicks need it to. New York also is not a very appealing place to play right now when the starting lineup sits as Jose Calderon, Tim Hardaway Jr., Anthony, Jason Smith and Cole Aldrich. That starting five does not intimidate anyone, nor does it make it easy to sell potential free agents on the Knicks. This team needs a huge overhaul and the front office is not making the best effort to make that happen. That is just my opinion. Let me know yours and whether you think the Knicks are on the right track to rebuilding.