Knicks could show interest in these 2 veterans on the buyout market

NBA: Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

With the Knicks looking for bench depth following their trade of Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett for OG Anunoby, they could look to the buyout market for some veteran help in the coming weeks. According to Stefan Bondy, Tom Thibodeau is a big fan of both Kyle Lowry and Gordon Hayward, who could provide shooting depth and shot creation that the team sorely needs. It’s unclear if both players would fit into the Knicks’ plans without moving a player off of their bench in a potential deal.

Quentin Grimes is a name that has been floated in trade conversations, but it’s expected that the Knicks would move the young guard in a package for a notable contributor and not just draft compensation. It’s shaping up to be an interesting deadline for the Knicks, who want to put themselves in a position to contend at the top of the Eastern Conference.

Knicks Are Eyeing Veterans on the Trade Block

NBA: Miami Heat at Toronto Raptors
Jan 17, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) reacts after a play against the Toronto Raptors during the second half at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

If the Knicks were to acquire Kyle Lowry, it would be the third team he’s on this season alone, as the veteran point guard was dealt by the Miami Heat this morning alongside a first-round pick for Terry Rozier. That’s another target off the board for New York, but he’ll get starting opportunities in Miami, whereas the Knicks would have played him off of their bench.

Lowry is in his age-37 season and has been solid for the Miami Heat but is better served for a bench role at this point in his career. He ranks in the 72nd Percentile in Assists per 75 Possessionss and is shooting a solid 38.5% from three on 4.4 attempts a night. The former NBA Champion has been reduced to more of a secondary ballhandling role, and his lack of scoring volume at this stage of his career makes him more of a facilitator than a scorer.

It’s still a skillset that the Knicks are looking for, and his excellent defensive versatility and value make him a guard who could complement the second unit well. They’d still lack an effective scorer, but they’d have someone who can handle the rock and orchestrate their offense when Jalen Brunson isn’t on the court. Despite his old age, he’s still an efficient scorer and a net positive on offense, but the Knicks would like to add someone alongside him who can be an aggressive scorer and shotmaker.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at New York Knicks
Nov 28, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) rebounds against Charlotte Hornets forward Gordon Hayward (20) and forward Miles Bridges (0) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Gordan Hayward hasn’t played since December 26th, but when he was playing he was one of the best scorers on the Hornets due to his steady three-point shot. The 33-year-old wing is averaging 14.5 points a night with a 54.4% True Shooting%, and the scorer has been a target for the Knicks on numerous occasions. Hayward is a strong playmaker, as he ranks in the 81st Percentile in Potential Assists per 100 Possessions, and averaged 4.6 a night with Charlotte this year.

Efficiency has been a struggle for Hayward in recent years, but perhaps with better spacing around him, the veteran wing could have more success driving to the basket and converting three-pointers. Defense is another skill that he brings to the table, ranking in the 81st Percentile in Matchup Difficulty and the 78th Percentile in Role Versatility on that side of the ball. The Knicks can utilize him at various positions, including the four where they don’t have a stable backup.

It would allow McBride-Grimes-Hart to slot into the 1-2-3 in the lineup, and assuming the Knicks deal Grimes, would create a lane to include the playmaker who likely replaces him. Gordon Hayward is expected to be bought out or traded, and the Knicks could make a bid on him.

The Knicks are actively searching for upgrades, and the market is beginning to heat up as we near closer to the February 8th deadline.