The New York Knicks are set to conclude a disappointing 2021-22 season after making it to the playoffs last year. Currently holding a 36-45 record at the 11th spot of the Eastern Conference, a lot of changes will surely have to be made for Tom Thibodeau’s squad in the upcoming offseason.
Looking back, the Knicks’ campaign didn’t turn out well as Julius Randle failed to sustain his good showing after an All-Star season last year. The Kemba Walker experiment also didn’t work out in New York due to his questionable fit with the team and his inability to stay healthy throughout the season.
The Knicks may have been struggling as of late but they still remain to be one of the most valuable franchises in the league today. Surely enough, the team will have to find ways to live up to the high expectations, and actively engaging in trades could potentially help them in their bid to be more competitive next season.
With that said, let’s take a look at three trade targets for the Knicks in the 2022 NBA offseason.
3. Malcolm Brogdon
The Knicks are in dire need of backcourt help and a potential player that they can target would be Malcolm Brogdon from the Indiana Pacers. Currently, they have Derrick Rose and Kemba Walker as their primary playmakers. Unfortunately, both are already past their primes and are not suitable to be long-term options for the Knicks moving forward.
They can explore shipping either of the two players plus other assets to acquire Brogdon. He averaged 19.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.9 assists in 36 appearances this season. Despite the solid numbers, the 2017 Rookie of the Year is currently finding himself in a tough position after the Pacers added younger players in Tyrese Haliburton and Chris Duarte who could eventually take his spot sooner than later.
Brogdon, who has also been bugged by injuries in recent seasons, would surely benefit from a change in scenery in order to get himself back on track. Given how shallow the Knicks’ backcourt depth is, he would surely get his fair share of opportunities to contribute on the floor. Plus, he’s only playing at the age of 29 which means that he still has a ton of basketball ahead of him if he manages to stay healthy moving forward.
2. Harrison Barnes
In the 2021-22 season, Julius Randle has raised doubts about his ability to be a No.1 option on a team due to the inconsistencies of his production. Given that he has been quite underwhelming, the Knicks would most likely trade him in order to get rid of his massive contract which runs through the 2025-26 season.
One team that is looking to buy in the offseason would be the Sacramento Kings. They’ve already affirmed their plans of holding onto De’Aaron Fox and they might be on the lookout for another star, which could be in the form of Randle, after acquiring Domantas Sabonis midway through the season.
Harrison Barnes may be the odd one out if the Kings elect to engage in a blockbuster trade in the upcoming offseason. Certainly enough, it won’t be a 1:1 trade as Sacramento will have to give up more in exchange for Randle’s services. However, getting Barnes in return would make sense for the Knicks as he is a valuable role player who can deliver on a regular basis.
The 29-year-old brought up his per-game averages to 16.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in 76 games played in 2021-22. He is also a player who doesn’t demand the ball as much which would allow the team to have a more free-flowing offense if he’s around. Plus, Barnes only has one more year left in his current contract which gives the Knicks more flexibility heading to the 2023 free agency.
1. Jerami Grant
Over the past seasons, Jerami Grant often found himself being involved in trade rumors but he remains to be a Detroit Piston to this day despite almost getting dealt at the trade deadline in 2021-22. Still, he is expected to be pursued by many teams in the upcoming offseason including the Knicks.
Like Randle, Grant is also an up-and-coming star who has shown more consistency in his level of play on the floor. His 2021-22 season may have been cut short due to a UCL surgery but he still had a solid line of 19.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in 47 games played.
Grant can contribute in a ton of ways for the Knicks, given his versatility and effectiveness on both ends of the floor. He also has one more year left in his contract which gives New York a bit more wiggle room depending on how he performs in 2022-23.
With his level of talent, the Knicks can roll the dice and explore a trade involving Randle and a few other assets in order to acquire Grant’s services for next season.