Knicks showcase Kevin Knox as trade interests pick up steam

Alder Almo
New York Knicks, Kevin Knox
CLEVELAND, OHIO - JANUARY 20: Kevin Knox II #20 of the New York Knicks drives down court during the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on January 20, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The writing is on the wall.

Kevin Knox’s failure to crack Tom Thibodeau’s regular rotation speaks volumes of his bleak future with the New York Knicks.

Following Knox’s best game of the season, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Monday that the seldom-used Knicks forward is garnering interests from rival executives. Knox is eligible to become a restricted free agent in 2022.

“Sources said teams are inquiring about Knicks forward Kevin Knox, who has played in just seven games this season and has rival executives wondering the plan for the 22-year-old in New York,” Charania wrote.

Knox got his rare chance to play meaningful minutes on Sunday with RJ Barrett and Obi Toppin (health and safety protocols) and Alec Burks (personal reasons) skipping Sunday’s 112-97 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The former lottery pick did his best to showcase his potential to future Knicks’ trade partners.

Knox knocked down five three-pointers on his way to 18 points in 29 minutes. He grabbed five rebounds and added one assist and a steal off the bench which drew praise from Thibodeau.

“[Kevin] comes in every day. He’s early. He’s part of the early group. A lot of those guys aren’t in the rotation but [their job] is to stay ready so, when you’re called upon that you can perform well. We know he’s got the skill level to shoot and it’s the other things that we need him to do are defense and rebounding also. But I was pleased with his readiness and his ability to shoot the ball,” Thibodeau said.

When the Knicks are at full strength, Knox’s only floor time is during garbage minutes. Sunday’s game was only Knox’s seventh game of the season. He has fallen off since showing promise in his rookie year. The 2018 9th overall pick averaged 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in 75 games, including a career-high 57 starts, as a rookie.

The knock on Knox is his lack of motor and defensive skills.

In a one-on-one trade, it is unclear what the Knicks could get in return for Knox. During last season’s trade deadline, the Knicks swapped Dennis Smith, Jr., another former Knick who fell out of favor, for Derrick Rose. But currently, the Knicks rotation is complete. So there’s not a spot for a veteran player to come in unless they also unload a key rotation player.

A future pick is a more likely return for Knox to add to the Knicks’ draft capital for a potential deal for a star down the road.

Knox could also serve as a throw-in in a larger package deal before the trade deadline. The Knicks have been linked to Philadelphia’s disgruntled star Ben Simmons.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo