It’s not for the lack of trying. It’s just that their spiraling season has diminished the value of the New York Knicks‘ tradable contracts.
Thursday’s trade deadline passed, and the Knicks are stuck with a roster they assembled last summer that hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations.
In the last few hours of the trade deadline, the Knicks tried to shed the multi-year salaries of veterans Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel. But a three-team trade with the Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Lakers fell through after the Raptors and the Knicks couldn’t agree on the draft picks, per The Athletic. The Lakers would have received Burks and Cam Reddish while Noel and Talen Horton-Tucker to the Raptors and Goran Dragic’s expiring salary and draft compensations to the Knicks.
The deal would have opened up cap space for the Knicks this summer and cleared some rotation logjam even when Derrick Rose returns from his ankle surgery. Cleveland and New Orleans also outbid them for the services of Caris Levert and CJ McCollum in the previous days.
The Knicks are left with no choice but to make do with what they have and reshape the roster next summer when most of their tradable contracts essentially become expiring deals with those team options tacked on in the final year.
But what they currently have is not enough to sneak into the playoff and play-in picture at the moment. They are seven games below .500 as they enter Thursday night’s game against Western Conference’s second-best team Golden State Warriors.
Tom Thibodeau from before the trade deadline:
"I like our team. I love our guys, I think we just gotta keep working at it." pic.twitter.com/sKzyjfmCj9
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) February 10, 2022
Thibodeau likes what he has. But he has more than players deserving of minutes in the lineup.
The Knicks’ failure to make a move after the Reddish trade leaves Thibodeau in a predicament that has kept the team from building consistency and chemistry.
How will they evaluate Reddish if he’s not in the rotation? The Knicks gave up a future first-round pick and Kevin Knox for Reddish.
Will Quentin Grimes stick in the rotation even when Rose returns after the All-Star break?
Will they shut down Kemba Walker again or just buy him out?
The Knicks have an open roster spot, but adding another solid player to complicate their rotation should be farthest from their mind. They are running out of games to figure out who they are with the season slipping away. Their last 27 games are the fourth-toughest remaining schedule in the league, per Tankathon.
Do they have one more big run in them like last season?
So many questions, so little time.
Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo