The New York Knicks desperately need support at the point guard position with Derrick Rose out until after the All-Star break.
“A little bit after All-Star. Taking my time still. It sucks right now. I had to get my mind right for this grind. I’ve been here numerous times. I’ll figure it out.” – Via Marc Berman of the New York Post
They had been connected to Jalen Brunson of the Dallas Mavericks in recent weeks, but talks have soured, and the thought is a deal will be hard to come by.
Nonetheless, that doesn’t alleviate the massive hole a point guard for New York, who have been trying to supplement it with Alec Burks, Kemba Walker, and Immanuel Quickley.
Against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night, the Knicks were completely outmatched in the second half, losing by 12 points and giving up 120 altogether. They tallied just 23 assists compared to 30 from Memphis, led by Ja Morant, their star point guard.
The Knicks’ leading assist man was none other than Julius Randle, who recorded nine. However, Walker contributed two assists and zero points, as Alec Burks added one to the fold.
Relying on Randle to carry the load in nearly every category is simply unsustainable at this point, meaning they should continue to scour the market for potential trade opportunities. One name that could inject immediate talent into the position is Caris LeVert of the Indiana Pacers.
Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer lists the Knicks as one of LeVert’s “known suitors”, as the 27-year-old is a gifted scorer and playmaker with the ball in his hands. He’s averaging 18.4 points and 4.1 assists in 30.6 minutes per game this season.
Fournier hasn’t lived up to his contract in New York, so using him as a the salary base in the deal is a bonus for the Knicks as well.
Indiana could actually use Fournier’s floor-spacing abilities given the team’s 32.8 percent mark from three this season (26th in the NBA).
However, they do the deal primarily because of the Knicks’ first-rounder—a pick that is currently projected to fall 12th overall.
LeVert is having a solid season with Indiana, averaging 18.1 points, 4.3 assists, and shooting 43.5% from the field over 38 games played. With his assist numbers increasing gradually, he could serve a key role for the Knicks as a prominent scorer and passer.
LeVert isn’t known for his defensive qualities, but he would be far more productive than Walker given his lack of consistency this season in New York.
Levert is on a three-year, $52.5 million deal, set to make $19 million next season with Indiana. A deal would have to include another major contract from the Knicks, clearing salary space to fit him under their cap.
Sending Evan Fournier on his way could be a realistic move, but the Knicks would also have to include a premium draft pick to acquire LeVert’s services.
From a logical standpoint, LeVert would offer the team immediate talent and put them in a better position to make a playoff run, but he’s not good enough to propel them into a championship contender. With that being said, the Knicks might be better off staying put and maintaining their youth, giving them more minutes to develop.
It really all depends on the front office and how they view the team’s current state. Reports have indicated in recent days that they could look to unload big contracts signed earlier this off-season, but that would essentially be waving the white flag on the season.