The New York Knicks have to make several tough decisions as the trade deadline nears on February 10. Power forward Julius Randle has struggled this year, averaging 18.7 points per game and shooting below 31% from range.
With his scoring production regressing significantly compared to his All-Star performance in 2020-21, the Knicks have to make a change, and they have plenty of valuable assets they can send on their way in return for impact players.
The problem for the Knicks is simple, their valuable pieces are represented by youth players. Tom Thibodeau is keen on developing his youngsters, hand-picked to help overhaul the transition game and provide more energy on the court.
However, unless the front office is willing to let the season go to waste, they must consider selling some of their young players to inject established talent.
One player who has drawn a ton of interest before the deadline is second-year guard, Immanuel Quickley.
On @ZachLowe_NBA podcast he mentions Knicks keeping getting calls for Immanuel Quickley. Says they keep turning the calls away but the calls haven’t stopped.
— Daniel (@benchwarmerdan) January 28, 2022
Quickley is averaging 10.1 points, 3.0 assists, and shooting 34.5% from deep this year. After a stellar rookie campaign, Quickley is having a bit of trouble maintaining production.
While Quickley has seen a decrease in scoring production, his defense has been far more efficient this season, recording a 102.1 defensive rating. His assist/turnover ratio sits at 2.37 and features a 21.2% assist percentage, an increase of 5% compared to his rookie season.
Quickley’s trajectory indicates he can become a phenomenal role player, which is why teams are intrigued by his services. The Knicks have turned away suitors intrigued by Quickley, but have floated the idea of treating several veterans, including Alec Burks, Evan Fournier, and Kemba Walker, according to ESPN.
The problem is, Fournier signed a four-year, $73 million contract, Walker a two-year, $18 million contract, and Burks a three-year, $30 million contract. There are not many teams who will view those three players as valuable assets, especially with freshly signed deals that don’t expire for multiple seasons.
This puts the front office in a tough spot. They don’t want to trade youth but are trying to get too much value from veterans who come with big cap hits.