Report: Knicks’ Immanuel Quickley among Suns trade targets for post-Chris Paul future

Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks
Jan 2, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley (5) shoots over Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) in the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Immanuel Quickley’s solid play lately has made him a keeper for the New York Knicks. But it didn’t stop other teams from registering interest to pry him away from New York.

Count Phoenix Suns as one of those teams.

According to long-time NBA insider Marc Stein, the Suns reportedly identified Quickley as one of their potential trade targets.

“Chris Paul is back for Phoenix after missing seven games with a hip injury, but the 37-year-old has played in only 27 of the Suns’ 48 games this season, having missed 14 games earlier due to a heel injury. Word is that those realities have prompted the Suns to start assessing their post-Paul future and thus identify Charlotte’s Terry Rozier, New York’s Immanuel Quickley and Toronto’s Fred VanVleet as potential trade targets.”

Marc Stein via Substack

But owing to Quickley’s emergence as an important piece of the core that turned the Knicks’ fortunes around following a 10-13 start, he’s worked his way into becoming indispensable.

Quickley is averaging career highs in points (12.5), rebounds (4.0), field goal shooting (42.8%), effective field goal shooting percentage (.506), and minutes (27.4) this season.

Since the Dec. 4 game against Cleveland, when Tom Thibodeau shortened his rotation, Quickley has averaged 15.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 3.2 assists while shooting 44.6 percent from the field over 24 games. During that 24-game stretch, he was a combined plus-138 as the Knicks went 15-9.

Quickley is among the Knicks’ top four players in advanced metrics: fourth in offensive win shares (1.8), tied for third in defensive win shares (1.2), fourth in win shares (3.0), and fourth in value over replacement player (0.7 VORP).

Quickley is extension-eligible this summer and could be looking at the $15-20 annual salary range in his current role as a borderline starter and Sixth Man moving forward.

A trade to a team like the Suns, though, could give him a starting role in the post-Chris Paul era, an opportunity he’ll never get from the Knicks as long as Jalen Brunson, RJ Barrett and Quentin Grimes are healthy.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo