Over the past few days, the New York Knicks have considered trading several veterans at the deadline. Including names like Evan Fournier, Kemba Walker, Alec Burks, and even Julius Randle, the front office could do a clean sweep and reset the roster with new contracts this upcoming off-season.
If the Knicks end up being sellers, the front office would virtually be waving the white flag on the season, looking to the future as a solution. After acquiring solid scorers in free agency, it seems as if Leon Rose struck out badly trying to piece together a more proficient team in several categories.
There is such thing as going too far, though, trading away young players with a ton of hidden talent.
Three off-limits players for the Knicks at the deadline:
1.) RJ Barrett
With Julius Randle taking a significant step back, RJ Barrett has become the Knicks leading scorer this season. On the year, Barrett is averaging 17.5 points, 2.6 assists, 5.7 rebounds, and shooting 36% from three-point range. Leading up to 2022, the third-year guard had struggled with inconsistencies and a Covid situation. To start the new year has been incredible.
In the month of January, RJ is averaging a team-high 22.6 points, 3.4 assists, 6.1 rebounds, and shooting 43% from range. Altogether, he’s hitting his stride and proving to be consistent with it, which has been the missing factor.
Any teams inquiring about his availability should be hung up on immediately. Barrett is a key component of the team moving forward unless another club is willing to offer a monster deal, the Knicks should stay committed.
2.) Quentin Grimes
One of the Knicks’ most exciting young players is shooting guard Quentin Grimes out of Houston. Since the start of the new year, Grimes has been earning exponentially more playing time.
With that being said, head coach Tom Thibodeau loves what Grimes brings to the table, including quality defense and shooting capabilities. While he’s averaging just 5.7 points this year, he’s posting 7.3 points in January and shooting 43% from three-point range. On the season, he’s shooting 40.3% from deep, showcasing his efficiency in the category.
Grimes has a 101.6 defensive rating, one of the best numbers on the team. If he can continue to develop as a playmaker and scorer, the Knicks will have something truly special in the 21-year-old guard.
3.) Immanuel Quickley
Recent reports have indicated that teams are inquiring about Immanuel Quickley, one of the Knicks’ top young scorers.
Quickley has featured as a bench piece this season, but he could be an elite sixth man down the road in the right scenario.
Quickley is averaging 10 points, 3.0 assists, and is shooting 34.5% from deep on the season. His shooting production has reduced slightly, but he’s averaging one more assist per game this year and still hosts a 91.5% success rate from the free-throw line, a 2% increase.
Quickley has also taken a tremendous step forward with his defense, showcasing an aggressive style, similar to Grimes. The team would be silly to move on from him this early, especially if they can find a way to piece together the starters and provide Quickley with a supportive cast.