New York Knicks show stroke of brilliance in three-team trade

New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau
Feb 7, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Head coach Tom Thibodeau of the New York Knicks speaks with Julius Randle #30 during the game against the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden on February 07, 2021 in New York City. Mandatory Credit: Mike Stobe/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks aren’t known for making savvy trade deadline moves, especially with star players around the NBA trying to avoid the failing franchise. However, “failure” isn’t a word associated with the Knicks anymore, especially coming off a stellar victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, securing their third consecutive win.

Nonetheless, the trade deadline was supposed to be a bit more active for New York, who could’ve used a star player to increase their offensive proficiency. Rather, the Knicks elected to wait until free agency to address this need, as head coach Tom Thibodeau feels as though his team is trending in the right direction, and he doesn’t want to disrupt their chemistry development.

The New York Knicks went savvy instead of scarce:

So instead of parting with draft capital, the Knicks made an incredibly brilliant move to buy more. The Knicks ended up trading away Austin Rivers and Ignas Brazdeikis, which sent $1.6 million in salary outward. Instead, they acquired Terrence Ferguson and Vincent Poirier, consuming $2.3M in salary.

Essentially, the Knicks acquired two future second-round picks for 700K and traded a player that likely never would’ve reached the floor with their current rotation and growth.

Moving forward, though, the Knicks do have a few deficiencies, notably at center with Mitchell Robinson fracturing his foot against Milwaukee. This is the second injury he’s faced this season of significance, recently returning from a fractured hand. This increased the chances of New York pursuing Andre Drummond, who was bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Instead, he elected to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, boosting his chances of winning a championship at 27 years old.

Now, the Knicks have $13.5 million in cap space available, meaning they will likely sign a veteran minimum player to fill the vacant roster spot and walk into the 2021-22 season with money to spend.

Notable players expected to hit free agency include Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul, Victor Oladipo, DeMar DeRozan, Blake Griffin, and Andre Drummond. The Knicks will have plenty of money to utilize if they want to pursue one of these players, and there are a few solid ones to choose from.