If the New York Knicks are going to make a big move at the trade deadline, they’re going to need to unload some big contracts. This past off-season, the consensus was the front office knocked it out of the park, but we are halfway through the 2021-22 season, and things seem incredibly murky.
Evan Fournier, who signed a big four-year, $73 million deal, is showcasing inconsistency and lackluster defense, while Julius Randle has regressed significantly from his All-Star form last year. In addition, the value of Alec Burks off the bench has become obsolete, with the starters struggling considerably.
Injury to Derrick Rose and Kemba Walker failing to make an impact has put the Knicks in a tough spot at point guard, but unless they can get rid of some of these big contracts, there’s no way they can bring on an established player and expect to pay them moving forward.
Rumors have entertained the idea of trading several veterans, including Burks, who signed a three-year, $30 million deal this past off-season to stay in New York.
Ian Begley of SNY constructed a reports list, showcasing where the Knicks stand on a potential trade at the deadline, including veterans.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that the Knicks are looking to move Walker, Evan Fournier, and Burks to open up playing time for Reddish. Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer notes that Walker, Fournier, Burks, and Nerlens Noel are available via trade. One note to add to that: People in touch with the Knicks last week say the club wasn’t overly interested in trading Burks to a team just to create a rotation spot.
Per people in touch with the Knicks, they were open to including Alec Burks in a trade if it allowed them to move other veterans.
— SNY (@SNYtv) February 3, 2022
Burks is a valuable player, as head coach Tom Thibodeau has stated in the past. This season, Burks is averaging 11.1 points, 2.5 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and shooting 40% from three-point range. By all accounts, he’s having another solid campaign, but the Knicks have been relying on him to play point guard, and that is not his natural position.
At this point, it seems as if the Knicks will stick with their current rotation despite the deficiencies. They only want to include Burks if they can also unload other big contracts, which seems unlikely given the lack of value they contain.
Realistically, Leon Rose and the front office would have to find a multi-team trade willing to part ways with contracts for draft capital and young talent. However, the Knicks would need to get established players in return, and that seems unlikely if they are unwilling to part ways with some of their key developmental pieces.