Should the Knicks no longer be interested in acquiring former champion on the trade block?

Toronto Raptors forward Bruce Brown (Knicks trade target)
Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks were closely linked to Toronto Raptors star Bruce Brown in the early portion of the 2023-24 NBA season, and are once again with trade rumors surrounding his name. Should they pursue him this time around?

Could the Knicks fit Bruce Brown into their lineup?

New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) is fouled as he drives to the basket by Toronto Raptors forward Bruce Brown (11) during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report forecasted the impact that Brown would have on the Knicks if he were to land in New York ahead of next season, saying this (h/t Jeremy Brener of Fan Nation’s All Knicks):

“A rotation that includes Brown, [Jalen] Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo, and Josh Hart could be pretty small, but all four play bigger than their height. And New York will presumably have healthier versions of OG Anunoby, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson back in action next season,” Bailey wrote.

Knicks: Rumored trade target Bruce Brown proved he’s a key role player again in 2023-24

In 67 games played for both the Raptors and the Indiana Pacers before them, Brown averaged 10.8 points — the second-highest average for his career — alongside 4.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists on 47.8 percent shooting from the field and a 32.3 percent connect rate on his 2.4 three-point attempts per game.

The 27-year-old does many great little things on the basketball floor that don’t show up in the stat sheet, like pushing the ball in transition, getting to his spots when trailing, and most of all, exceptionally cleaning the glass. Brown’s intangibles and defensive tenacity could be a good fit in New York. However, there may not be room for him on their crowded depth chart.

Do the Knicks need Bruce Brown, as good as he may be?

Apr 12, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA;  Toronto Raptors forward Bruce Brown (11) lobs a pass toward the basket as Miami Heat forward Haywood Highsmith (24) and forward Kevin Love (42) defend during the second half at Kaseya Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks found success with small-ball lineups in the regular season and in the playoffs without Julius Randle healthy. However, Bailey’s proposition adds to the Knicks a player in Brown that does many of the same things that Josh Hart excels at. Also, Brener pinpointed Bojan Bogdanovic as a fitting trade piece due to the $19.03 million remaining on his contract coming close to Brown’s $23 million team option for next season.

The Knicks need all the shooting they can get around All-Stars Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle next year. Therefore, relinquishing sharpshooters Bogdanovic or Alec Burks — the latter of whom proved his value with a pair of big games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Indiana Pacers — or a player like Hart whose rebounding and playmaking reached record heights last season, in exchange for Brown would not give the Knicks a game-changing upgrade.

Brown is expected to be heavily shopped this summer despite being under contract for one more year. The Knicks may keep a watchful eye on the Miami product. As good as he is though, the Knicks may be wise to overlook him in the trade market, especially at his current price point on what will be an expiring deal.

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