It is clear that the New York Knicks need to add more talent at the trade deadline if they want to be legitimate postseason contenders. The team could use an injection of talent with inconsistency stretching across the roster, including offensive ebbs and flows from Julius Randle and injuries at the point guard position.
In recent days, Thibodeau’s squad has been linked to multiple players bound to make a move in the coming weeks. While Indiana Pacers big man Myles Turner is another candidate, the Detroit Pistons also have an intriguing prospect who could serve as a solid force for New York.
Shams Charania reported that the Knicks view Jerami Grant as a potential target at the deadline, especially given his defensive prowess and scoring abilities:
Looking at the Knicks’ roster objectively, Grant doesn’t exactly have a spot to fill as a primary power forward. New York already has Randle and Obi Toppin coming off the bench at the position, but they could look to move Toppin in a deal with Detroit, providing them with more young talent to build around while New York attempts to win now.
However, the Knicks are extremely excited by Toppin’s transition abilities and athleticism, so parting ways would have to include extreme value on their end.
In any deal, the Knicks will have to find money to fit a big contract, whether it be Grant or Turner.
Fred Katz of The Athletic proposed a trade that would shed salary space and entice the Pistons with young talent:
To match Grant’s $20 million 2021-22 salary, the Knicks have to give up either Evan Fournier or multiple middling contracts, which would mean pairing two of Alec Burks, Kemba Walker and Nerlens Noel. And that’s just to make the finances work. Next, they’d have to include young players or draft picks to entice the Pistons. Are the Knicks willing to give up two rotational pieces, as well as some mix of draft picks and young players, like Mitchell Robinson, Obi Toppin or Immanuel Quickley?
Considering Nerlens Noel hasn’t made a significant impact on the team this year, moving on from his contract makes logical sense. Thibodeau was a primary voice in acquiring Evan Fournier, so trading him at this point may be premature.
Fournier has struggled offensively the season at times, showcasing a 40 point game one night and zero points the next. His defense is a severe liability, something that Grant could upgrade significantly.
However, Grant is shooting just 33% from deep this season but is averaging 20.1 points in the process. He is a solid attacker in the paint and would force opposing teams to collapse their defense and leave three-point shooters out on the perimeter. RJ Barrett, Quentin Grimes, and Immanuel Quickley would likely thrive with Grant in their system. Detroit’s top player is currently recovering from a thumb surgery he had in mid-December. He could return in late January, likely before a deal would take place.
Leon Rose and the front office would have to give up one of their young pieces, whether it be Toppin, Quickley, or even a rookie like Grimes.
The sense is that Thibodeau loves his young players and wants to continue developing them, but his only goal is winning games, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him sacrifice one of them for the greater good.
Piston Receive: Obi Toppin, Nerlens Noel, Kemba Walker, 2nd round draft choice in 2022
Knicks Receive: Jerami Grant