Knicks: Alex Caruso among emerging trade options

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) drives to the basket against Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso (6) during overtime at United Center
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are rolling of late and are looking to improve their roster in pursuit of a championship run. Three new players have surfaced as potential options for the Knicks to pursue.

According to Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, Alex Caruso (Chicago Bulls), Dorian Finney-Smith (Brooklyn Nets) and OG Anunoby (Toronto Raptors) are viable players that could be up for the taking prior to the trade deadline. He said this in part about Finney-Smith:

“With the 6-7 Nets struggling to gain traction, they might be willing to let some of their win-now talent go for long-term assets. And they are so deep at the wing spots that trading away Finney-Smith wouldn’t necessarily be a sign of surrender.”

Finney-Smith Presents an Instant Solution to a Significant Knicks Issue

Finney-Smith is on a Nets roster alongside Ben Simmons, Royce O’Neale, and Cam Johnson, all of whom are skilled two-way players who man the power forward position. They also have Trendon Watford deep in their rotation who possesses a versatile arsenal offensively.

The Nets could afford to trade Finney-Smith for the right price, which would automatically solve a power forward void that the Knicks have behind Julius Randle. It would also allow the Knicks to play small with Randle at the five in certain situations.

As for the Nets, they could use help at center behind standout defender Nic Claxton, as they only have Day’Ron Sharpe behind him at the moment. The Knicks have Isaiah Hartenstein and Jericho Sims competing for time behind Mitchell Robinson. What Finney-Smith brings offensively as a superb catch-and-shoot threat from outside, along with his ability to guard four positions would be worth a look from the Knicks, especially with three years and roughly $44.4 million left on his deal.

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Do the Knicks Have Need for Alex Caruso?

Alex Caruso is a reigning All-Defensive 1st Team member and would give the Knicks a pace that they don’t play with, even with the improvement they’ve shown thus far this season in that department. Caruso is athletic, fast, and pushes the ball hard in transition. He also excels curling off of screens from the wing and penetrating toward the basket.

The Knicks have two factors that don’t quite necessitate an urgent push for Caruso. One, the Knicks have Jalen Brunson playing at an All-Star level as the starting point guard and Immanuel Quickley already making an early case for Sixth Man of the Year behind him. Additionally, they have Josh Hart who serves as a flex guard that facilitates the Knicks’ offense on the break.

The Knicks could make a play for Caruso, but a player of his caliber would likely desire to start in a lineup that doesn’t have room for him. If he were willing to come off the bench, the Knicks could trade Donte DiVincenzo for him and inherit Caruso’s 50 percent clip from three-point range and upgrade their perimeter defense.

OG Anunoby an Upgrade Over Quentin Grimes

Save three-point shooting, OG Anunoby is a prototype of what the Knicks are hoping Quentin Grimes can develop into — a sizable two-way wing that can defend opposing teams’ best players at an All-Defensive caliber, knock down threes at an efficient clip and create his own shot off the bounce when necessary.

Anunoby makes 2.6 threes on 37.1 percent shooting per game, which is a step above Grimes’ 36.2 percent marker. Anunoby led the league in steals last year and would give the Knicks a fourth scorer who can do it all and slide over to the power forward sparingly. He’s owed over $38.5 million over the next two seasons. If the Knicks could pull off a trade involving Grimes, unload Evan Fournier’s contract — which is identical to Anunoby’s — and potentially include a draft pick, the Raptors would be presented with an offer hard to refuse. That is, if their quarrel with the Knicks blows over.